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.
Regular season statistics:
|GP||G||A||Pts||PIMs||+/-||TOI||Corsi Rel||OZ starts|
Key Stat: 6th - Eaves finished sixth on the Stars in goal scoring, trailing the sometimes Super Friends line of Jamie Benn, Tyler Seguin and Jason Spezza along with Cody Eakin and Trevor Daley. It wasn't a career high for the former first round draft pick - that came with 20 goals in 58 games as a rookie with the Ottawa Senators - but it was a somewhat surprising addition after Eaves was held to four goals in just 74 games over the past three seasons as he battled a number of injuries.
The Good: Many thought that Eaves was brought in to fill in a depth role, even possibly be a regular healthy scratch given the depth in the lineup. And while the season started out like that, Eaves found chemistry with Benn and Seguin midway through the season and, after bouncing back from yet another scary puck to the head, finished alongside the two. His ability to get to the front of the net, his generally responsible defensive play and his speed made him a very strong compliment to the Stars two-headed monster on the first line. His impact was most noticeable there and on the power play, but he also looked good on the second line as well as the coaching staff tried to find the right chemistry for Jason Spezza.
The Bad: While Eaves was impressive in the time he did play, he suffered yet another scary concussion when he took a shot to the head off the stick of John Klingberg. While he came back very quickly all things considered, that's a very scary sign for a player with a history of post-concussion syndrome after taking a puck to the temple several years ago. Playing in only 47 games doesn't exactly inspire confidence about his durability for the long-run, which will be a big factor as the UFA looks for offers this offseason. And some of his goal scoring was luck that is likely to run out - Eaves boasted a 15.4 percent shooting percentage this season, well above his average of 10.2.
Bottom Line: Eaves was a low-risk, high-reward signing for the Stars that paid off in a big way. He played at a 24-goal, 47-point pace if he'd have been able to play all 82 games this season, quite an accomplishment for a guy who only played 30 NHL games last season. While his injury history absolutely remains a concern as managing repeated concussions is very tricky business, he's definitely earned himself a solid veteran NHL contract next season, and the Stars are likely to be very interested in retaining his services.
Vote now: Rate Eaves 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.