Last time I was here, I thought it'd be fun to consider impressions in a vacuum. Which is exactly what we're looking at when we watch Dallas Satrs preseason games; an impression of hockey. But now that we have a bigger vacuum, maybe it's time to reflect on those impressions once more.
As usual, this isn't about hard data. Or judgment (for that, go talk to Raffi Torres). It's about patterns; are there patterns we should look out for? Are there ones we should ignore?
Humor me. Let's assume we live in an alternate universe where the preseason is the regular season. What would the playoffs look like tomorrow?
Something things wouldn't surprise you. Others would.
|St. Louis||6||4||2||0||8||4||0||0||3-0-0||1/2/2000||22||11||11||4/2/2000||Won 2|
|Los Angeles||6||4||1||1||9||3||1||0||2-0-1||2/1/2000||16||8||8||4/1/2001||Won 1|
|San Jose||7||4||2||1||9||4||0||0||2/1/2000||2/1/2001||15||10||5||4/2/2001||Lost 1|
For one, Edmonton gets home ice advantage over everyone, including Anaheim and Chicago. They're also only one point shy of winning the Presidents' Trophy. The Pacific dominates the Western Conference Stanley Cup Playoffs by sending five teams in. Meanwhile, the Murder Death Kill division lives up to its name as everyone more or less (Wesley) Sniped each other out. Only Minnesota, St. Louis, and Chicago are left standing.
As for where this leaves Dallas, Stars fans are too busy being fined for violating the verbal morality statute.
I know. This is just the preseason. As in, glorified practice. Chances are, Edmonton is not the new Chicago. But other than Edmonton, is the rest all that shocking?
Tyler Seguin led the Dallas Stars in points with 5. The following players had two points: Jason Demers, John Klingberg, Mattias Janmark, Esa Lindell, Devin Shore, Patrick Sharp, Gemel Smith, Brendan Ranford.
A frequent contributor in the comments section, jere_the_winger was kind and diligent enough to compare and contrast the team's preseason possession stats. The Dallas Stars saw a major uptick in their collective Corsi For % going from 43.3 percent last preseason, to 54.5 percent this preseason.
But the negatives seem to remain; in four games Kari Lehtonen posted an average save percentage of .811. In 34:42 of Power Play time, Dallas managed just one goal out of 27 attempts. They also started slow almost every game, totaling 60 shots in Period 3 through 7 games, 68 in Period 2, and a whopping 47 in Period 1.
Now for the eyeball impressions, and cliffs notes:
- Patrick Sharp looks better on Seguin's wing than I imagined. Benn didn't get a chance to show much, but rest assured; if he's in Art Ross form, this line will see Dallas' enemies driven before them.
- Demers with Jordie Benn continues its Corsi assault, which makes you wonder if there's not a better configuration. I think they communicate well; there's an understated synergy between them that doesn't look fancy, but drives play. Jordie actually looks really good when he plays the way his beard looks; physical, and barbaric.
- Stick another feather in Nill's mustache. Getting Janmark for a barely vertical Erik Cole was a steal. Janmark is a polished hockey player who plays a solid two way game.
- Kari Lehtonen deserves the benefit of the doubt. Despite my belief that he's not a great pressure player, I don't think last season, or this preseason reflect his talent. Nonetheless, Niemi is a veteran goaltender and shouldn't have to argue his case too hard for starting game 1 after outplaying Kari in the preseason. The games may not mean much, but the habits do. And Niemi seems focused.
- Josh talked about this the other day, but chances are, someone on defense is getting the axe. Oleksiak has made modest improvements, and Jokipakka has looked decent. With Lindell and Bystrom both looking like superior left handed defenders in their limited playing time, the guy with a name that sounds like former pro quarterback/Kolber magnet might want to find that inner Scott Stevens and quick.
- Derian Hatcher more days left.