Over the next month, Defending Big D will be counting down the most important "impact" players for the upcoming season for the Dallas Stars. Starting from the player we believe will have the smallest influence on this season to the player with the most, we'll countdown from #23 all the way to the top as we get ready for what we hope will be a very promising season.
Jake Dowell is one of the forgotten yet very important additions to the Dallas Stars this summer. While he's never going to be as flashy an addition as Michael Ryder or Vernon Fiddler, he's still going to be filling a very important role on the Dallas Stars. With the departure of players like Brian Sutherby and Brandon Segal, the Stars were in dire need of depth players with some grit and some sort of scoring touch.
Tom Wandell has shown promise and potential, but Jake Dowell is getting the slight edge over Wandell in these rankings based on his ability to be a physical and grinding presence on the third or fourth lines -- something the Dallas Stars desperately will need.
Dowell actually had a fairly decent season last year in limited minutes, scoring six goals and recording 21 points in 79 games. It was Dowell's first full season since being drafted in 2004 out of the University of Wisconsin, as he took a bit longer than normal to make the full transition to being an NHL player. Dowell has never been a big scoring threat at any of his stops and at this point he is what is, a very physical and grinding forward who could chip in with a goal from time to time throughout the season. A player like Dowell won't change the course of a season for a team like the Stars, but the depth he'll provide is very important.
Dowell likely comes to the Stars with a bit to prove as well, to show that he is more than just a career AHL player -- which is essentially what he had been before last season with the Chicago Blackhawks. Watching some of his "big" games last season, it's clear that Dowell is never going to amaze you with his scoring prowess and his point production will come from hard work and grit and not much else. For the Dallas Stars, this is something that is going to be key this season, especially considering this sort of goal scoring was not present last year from the Stars' fourth line -- at least not as consistently as you'd like.
In the end, Dowell fits a need for the Stars that was created after the departure of Segal and Sutherby. Dowell isn't going to set the scoreboard on fire, but he will take the role of providing something that this team is desperately going to need: some attitude.