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.
In the 2007-2008 season Trevor Daley recorded 24 points. The year after that? 25. Then 22, 27, 25 again, and 13 in the shortened lockout season, which pro-rates to about 22.
This year he recorded...25.
He is a model of consistency in that particular area, but this year was different for the one they call Dales, even if the numbers don't reflect it.
For one, he played just 67 games this season- On the low side for a regular 77+ game player most seasons, and still managed to maintain his production. A sprained ankle in December saw him miss 14 games surrounding the Christmas holidays, and his return coincided, rather unfortunately, with the massive slide the team took in January.
His playoff performance speaks for itself. He was getting the puck on net, almost single-handedly propelled them to a game seven with two goals and an assist in game six, and finished a +6 in the last four games, much of that time spent marking Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry.
Evaluating his season shouldn't be focused on playoffs alone, of course- He was quite good in the regular season. He had to be when Sergei Gonchar was relagated to third-pairing minutes and Stephane Robidas was lost, then traded. He didn't start off that way, however.
In October and November Daley was called upon to play 19:41 per night and turned in an even plus/minus rating.
In March and April he was up to 23:24 a night and was +9. He played the tough minutes, a lot of them, when it mattered, and for the most part got very positive results, dragging their under-manned d-core into the post-season, and in that way his season mirrors Alex Goligoski's.
Both showed what they can be, and in a critical time. It defies logic, really. You've been told your whole hockey-conscious life that your team cannot survive with two undersized guys like that playing the big minutes, but as the spring unfolded they were clearly in Lindy Ruff's trust tree, and hardly anyone else was. It's probably not a good long term strategy but their efforts were nothing short of tremendous.
Technically, technically Trevor Daley's ice time has decreased for four consecutive seasons (22:29, 21:38, 21:24, and 21:08 this year on average)... But we know that's not actually the case after the spring he had.
The question on our minds and surely on Jim Nill and Lindy Ruff's as the summer progresses will surely be: Can he do it again? Can he sustain that level over a season? Did it take 82 games of installing a new culture and a new style of play to realize the potential of a few of these defensemen?
As we said with Stephane Robidas for years and years- Imagine how much better a Trevor Daley or an Alex Goligoski looks when you slide them behind a real "number-one"... Just daydreams, of course. Acquiring them is impossible.
We'll find out. At any rate his contract looks like a pretty good bargain right now. Grade Trevor Daley's season in the poll and discuss.
And if nothing else, thank Daley for giving us this when we needed it the most. Garbutt and Eakin's celebration on the bench was the perfect representation of how we all felt, and how very much they needed it, back in the last moments where the playoff dream was still up in the air...