Dallas Stars 2013-14 Season Grades: Patrik Nemeth

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

DBD takes a look back at the season from Patrik Nemeth, who transitioned fairly seamlessly from the AHL to NHL.

Once again it's that time of year here on Defending Big D where we take a look at each player that suited up for 20 or more games this season (and finished the season with the team) - and take a look back at their season. What was good about it, what wasn't so good, and the lasting impression they left us as we go into summer.

Regular season statistics:

GP G A Pts PIMs +/- TOI Corsi Rel OZ starts
8 0 0 0 6 -3 13:46 -5.3% 57.4%

Playoff statistics:

GP G A Pts PIMs +/- TOI Corsi Rel OZ starts
5 0 0 0 12 -2 15:16 4.8% 47.8%

Key Stat: 47.8 percent offensive zone starts in playoffs - Nemeth stepped up his game when the Stars needed him most. With Brenden Dillon out with an ankle injury and veterans Aaron Rome and Sergei Gonchar struggling, Nemeth became one of the players the Stars trusted most in their own zone against the Ducks. Paired with Jordie Benn much of that span, Nemeth was both a physical presence and a solid positional defenseman as he played some tough minutes.

The Good: Nemeth doesn't quite fit our criteria of 20 or more games, but he was impossible to ignore and is now almost assuredly set to be a fixture on the blueline next season. His physical presence and positional awareness were a breath of fresh air on a defense that trended smaller and, at times, a little panicky. While he came up because injuries and trades forced the Stars hands, he played so well that they gave him more and more minutes even as the games got more important.

The Bad: The flip side of those zone starts in the playoffs was that the Stars essentially hid the Benn-Nemeth pairing, even more than they hid Rome and Gonchar. Benn and Nemeth had by far the lowest quality of competition ratings on the team, outside of Chris Mueller, while the players who were really thrown to the wolves were Trevor Daley and Alex Goligoski. It's understandable given that Nemeth is so young and Jordie Benn, while he had a very solid year, is not exactly your prototypical defensive defenseman. But Nemeth was not really playing the difficult minutes at any point that the Stars would like to see him carry in the future. He was slightly less hidden in the regular season, but played the same kind of minutes the team trusted to Jamie Oleksiak.

Bottom Line: It's just a start, but it was a great one for the young Swede. While he wasn't exactly put into situations of great difficulty, especially in the playoffs, he looked more than competent. There are miles to go before he sleeps - plus/minus is a flawed stat, but it lines up well enough with his regular season advanced stats, which said despite the eye test, he still needs some work - but  his size, strength and positional sense have moved him from a player written in pencil to a player written in ink on next years roster, almost certainly jumping two or three players who started the season in Dallas.

Vote now: Rate Nemeth on a scale of A to F (A being the best of course) based on his performance relative to his potential and your expectations for the season.

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