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.
Dallas Stars 2013-14 Season Grades: Shawn Horcoff
Grade Shawn Horcoff
Key Stat: 6. Shawn Horcoff scored six points in six games against the Anaheim Ducks in the playoffs. He really elevated his game when it counted and quickly became one of the Stars' best weapons against the Ducks. In an up and down season for the veteran, this was a great way to end and prove his value.
The Good: Horcoff provided a lot of veteran presence throughout the year. While he wasn't an offensive dynamo, he was always a stalwart defender and a mainstay on the penalty kill. He never challenged for real top six minutes, but he became one of the leaders in the Stars' bottom six who started to contribute in other ways than scoring. From the first time he gave an interview as a Dallas Star, it was clear that Horcoff knew that he was being brought in to help guide some of the young guys and play a solid two way game. He is always amazingly articulate and even keeled, no matter what the circumstances. In a long season that saw some awesome highs and devastating lows, Horcoff was a calming presence.
The Bad: The one thing Horcoff didn't do a great job of in his first season as a Dallas Star was provide offense. When the Stars tried to create more scoring throughout the lineup, Horcoff had a hard time playing with better players, and he and Vernon Fiddler found themselves in the awkward spot of being defensive minded forwards who had to step up offensively. Horcoff was paid $6 million this season, and a good amount of offense is usually expected from guys who make more money than Tyler Seguin and Jamie Benn.
The Bottom Line: Shawn Horcoff's overall offensive game has dried up quite a bit since he scored 73 points in 2005-06. While he's being paid like an offensive player, Lindy Ruff quickly found out that he wasn't the type of guy to put with young wingers to increase production, rather he became a defensive specialist whose two-way game and commitment to penalty killing greatly helped the Stars in making their first playoff appearance since 2008.
Things started clicking for Horcoff in the playoffs, however, and he was one of the Stars' best players and maybe their second best forward in their series against the Anaheim Ducks. While parts of his season were extremely frustrating and there were times when it looked like Jim Nill would look silly for signing him, he made up for that in large part with his point per game performance in round one. While his contract isn't great, he's a valuable member of the Stars as a leader on a young team and as a guy who knows how to step up at the right time; and after his last few years in Edmonton he's definitely hungry for more post-season play.
Vote now: Rate Horcoff 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.