We continue our series of grading each player that played a role for the Stars in the 2009-2010 season. At the end of each feature, you get to select the overall grade for each individual player. This is something we'll continue doing each season, and is a tool we can use to determine a player's progress year by year.
#28 / Defenseman / Dallas Stars
Jun 01, 1986
Key Stat: Mark of course led the Stars in plus/minus with a +27, which was also good for 10th in the NHL. It was the first time that a player with ten points or less was able to crack the top 10 in the league since the 1999-2000 season.
The Good: On a defensive unit that was critisized for being out of position and too soft around their own net, Mark Fistric was most times the most reliable player the Stars had on the blue line. Fistric progressed well as the season went on learning how to use his six foot three inch size to his advantage in hitting opposing players as he was second amoung Stars defnesemen with 171 hits despite the fact he was ranked six in average time on ice per game (14:55) amoung Stars defensemen who had played 60 games or more in a season. He also led Stars defensemen with five majors and most nights was one of the few players on the ice for the Stars that brought any kind of rugged and take-no-prisnoers attitude.
The Bad: In the 08-09 season when he played only 36 games, Mark managed to pile up 35 shots. The following season he nearly doubled the amount of games played, but only managed to get off 11 more shots on goal than the previous season. Granted Mark will never be counted on for any kind of blue line scoring and it's not his game, but Mark does posess a pretty good shot and it would be nice to see him utilize that more.
The Bottom Line: Having played in two previous seasons with the Stars, it's easy to forget or not even realize that 2009-10 was Mark's first full year as an NHLer playing in a career high 67 games. While he led the team in plus/minus, one look at his average time on ice - not to mention the fact he was sparringly used in penalty kill situations - suggests that the Stars coaching staff may feel he's not quite ready to assume the role of a shut down d-man. Going into the 10-11 seaosn, there will be more pressure on Mark to keep growing as an NHL defenseman and it's possible that early on, Marc Crawfor may want to try and put him into more pressure filled situations. How he handles that will go a long way in telling us if his 10th in the league ranked plus/minus rating was a flash-in-the-pan or if it's a sign of many more years of steady defensive play to come.
The Vote: Rate Fistric on a scale of 1-10 (10 being the best) based on his performance relative to his potential and your expectations for the season - if he had the best year you could have imagined him having, give him a 10; if he more or less played as you expected he would, give him a 5 or a 6; if he had the worst year you could have imagined him having, give him a 1.