clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Dallas Stars Roster Watch: Lehtonen, Stars Close 2014 In Style

New, comments

The Dallas Stars closed out 2014 with a palate-cleansing pasting of the Arizona Coyotes. There is plenty of work to be done in 2015, but for now, let's enjoy the spectacle of a completely transformed team.

Ritchie got his first goal, but more importantly, his first "Up" of the season
Ritchie got his first goal, but more importantly, his first "Up" of the season
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Lots of ups this week as the Stars continue to roll. Yes, there have been some ugly December blemishes (Winnipeg & Toronto come to mind), but Dallas is 8-2 in their last 10 games, six points out of the final playoff spot, and has two games in hand. That’s as good a stretch as anybody in the Western Conference. It’s a blistering pace, but they’ll need to keep it up to claw their way back into contention.

Up

Brett Ritchie (1 GP / 1 G / 10:20 TOI) – Some idiot suggested Dallas might be better off keeping Ritchie in Cedar Park. The goal was a fitting cap to a wonderful debut. It’s officially time for Stars fans to start salivating. That said, it was 10 minutes against the woeful Coyotes.

Kari Lehtonen (3 GP / 3 Win / 1 SO) – Three more wins, including a shutout have Stars fans cautiously optimistic. Those were statement wins as well. St. Louis never loses at home, New York had won eight straight, and the Arizona game was close through most of the second period.

Jamie Benn (3 GP / 1 G / 5 SOG) – The Captain has recorded at least two shots in nine of the past ten games. So the effort is there. I’d love to see him wire something, but I guess I’ll settle for a fortunate bounce. That’s nit-picking, though. Ask poor Kyle Chipchura how he’s playing.

Jordie Benn (3 GP / 7 Blks / 55.1 CF%) – Another mostly solid week for the elder Benn. The Hollywood passes (and subsequent mistakes) that marred the start of the season seem to have abated, leaving Dallas with a generally steady blueliner.

Erik Cole (3 GP / 2 A / 15 H) – Cole is straight up pulping people on the ice. This isn’t even a case where one huge game is skewing the stats. The burly winger spread his violence nearly evenly against St. Louis (5 H), New York (4 H), and Arizona (6 H). They should warn the local rec leagues, this guy is on the warpath.

Trevor Daley (3 GP / 1 G / 9 SOG) – Daley has clearly benefitted from the goaltending resurgence behind him. He’s getting the puck up ice and on net, and as a result, is on pace to set career highs across the board offensively.

Jason Demers (3 GP / 1 G / 2 A) – Demers registered a point in all three games this week. He’s contributing a bit more offensively (57.3 CF%), but has remained a strong physical presence (5 Hits).

Cody Eakin (3 GP / 3 Pts / 64% FOW) – Last week, Eakin checked all the boxes. He played on the Power Play (2:45 APPTOI), the Penalty Kill (1:34 ASHTOI), scored a goal, and registered a pair of assists.

Vernon Fiddler (3 GP / 1 A / 42% FOW) – An off week on the dot, but otherwise, Fiddler continues to be an important part of Dallas’ success. If you want to know what kind of player he is, check out which Stars forward pulled Ritchie’s first NHL Goal out of the Arizona net. Class act.

Ryan Garbutt (3 GP / 2 G / 0 PIMs) – In 5 post-suspension games, Garbutt has taken a single minor penalty. He’s also scored twice, added an assist, put 13 shots on goal, and thrown 5 hits. Yes, he tempted fate with a few ill-advised shots at Henrik Lundqvist, but credit where credit is due.

Alex Goligoski (3 GP / 2 A / 9 Blks) – A pair of assists in Arizona very nearly doubled his offensive output for the month (5 A). That’s nice, but for this team, the fact he plays a ton (22:26 ATOI), kills penalties (3:35 ASHTOI), and handles the big defensive shifts (-16.2% Offensive Zone Starts relative) is the true sign of his value.

John Klingberg (3 GP / 1 G / +4) – #Oldschool! Klingberg was back in the goals this week, and with a +3 against Arizona, now leads the Stars at +8. Doesn’t it just feel like Klingberg has been on the backline forever?

Ales Hemsky (3 GP / 2 G / 48.6 CF%) - SHOOT! Listen, two goals qualifies as "Up," but I included the #fancystats to point out Hemsky’s underlying weirdness. He’s been back over 14 minutes each of the past two games, but I still can’t make sense of the guy.

Travis Moen (3 GP / 2 Pts / 4 H) – Back in the lineup, back to banging bodies, back to contributing offensively. Well, we expected two of the three.

Colton Sceviour (3 GP / 3 Pts / 7 SOG) – The reinvigorated Sceviour sure seems like a good fit on the first line. Six points in his last 10 games represents a solid contribution.

Antoine Roussel (3 GP / 1 G / 6 H) – Aggression and production from Roussel last week. The power play time has mostly dried up (only 42 seconds), and his ice time fell below 14 minutes against the Rangers and Coyotes. It would be nice to see the latter improve, at least.

Down

Shawn Horcoff (2 GP / 1 H / 1 SOG) – Slowed down a bit last week, then missed the Arizona game due to illness. Horcoff is currently expected back in time for the weekend, and that’s a very good thing.

Anders Lindback (0 GP) – Down, but through no fault of his own. When Kari plays well, his backups get bored.

Tyler Seguin (3 GP / 0 G / 10 SOG) – Seguin last scored December 21st against the Edmonton Oilers. Let’s all go through our Seguin Crisis Coping Exercises: is he still getting points? Yes, a pair of assists last week. Is his line still scoring? Yup. Is he shooting the dang lights out? Try 10 SOG over the last three games. This too shall pass.

Jason Spezza (3 GP / 1 A / 3:07 APPTOI) – Despite ample special teams opportunities, things just aren’t clicking right now for Spezza. Since a three point night against New Jersey (December 13), he’s only hit the scoresheet twice. The crazy thing is that a 109.3 PDO suggests he might have been lucky during that stretch.

In Between

Jyrki Jokipakka (2 GP / 3 Blks / 1 Save) – There were some downs, but there were also moments of steadiness. Enjoy the light beer, kid.

Jamie Oleksiak (1 GP / 18:19 TOI / 33.3 CF%) – Back up from Cedar Park, Oleksiak found his way into the game against Arizona. More than 18 minutes of ice time is good, an apparent struggle to drive possession is not as great. The team did win 6-0, so the committee will wait for a larger sample before ruling definitively.

On the Shelf

Patrick Eaves

Travis Morin

Patrick Nemeth

Valeri Nichushkin