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 organization) - 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||+/-||ATOI||SAT Rel%||5v5 OZ starts|
Key Stat: 2003-04 - The first year in which the longest-tenured Star began playing with the big club. We'll get to all of the other incredible stats put up by Trevor Daley in a moment, but you can't talk about his role on the team or his importance to it without remembering that Daley is the greybeard in the group by a mile when it comes to time spent wearing the Star. Fun fact: Trevor Daley is the last remaining player on the Stars to have worn the old "Star" jersey.
The Good: Goals goals goals and more goals! With his 16 goals (in only 68 games played), Trevor Daley surpassed his old career high of nine. In fact, Daley set personal bests in assists (22) and points (can you seriously not do the math?) as well, which speaks to the continued push by the coaching staff for Daley to activate, which we heard much about last season. As a matter of fact, it only took 56 games for Daley to hit 16 goals, and his succession to the throne of Phillipe Boucher seemed inevitable. It was hard not to be pleased with offensive production from a player that the Stars had almost always used in a shutdown-type role prior to Lindy Ruff, and all else aside, the Stars would almost assuredly have had a 20-goal defenseman on the team if not for Matt Martin's stupid and predatory knee, which garnered both a game misconduct and a one-game suspension.
The Bad: Well, see, there's this thing about defensemen: they do need to defend every now and again, and in terms of allowing the other team to shoot the puck at the Stars' net, Daley was either one of the worst or the outright worst defenseman in the entire NHL this year. Yes, it's true: of the 196 blueliners who played at least 40 games this season, Trevor Daley was...196th in relative SAT% per NHL.com. When Daley was on the ice, the Stars allowed 9.1% more shot attempts than when he was off the ice. That is a remarkable number--in fact, it is the worst relative SAT% since at least 2010, if not before.
When Lindy Ruff was asked about Daley's poor possession numbers by Mike Heika during locker room cleanout day, Ruff's response was, in part: "I've talked to Daley about those numbers." Read into that what you will, but there's no denying that life got more difficult for Stars' goaltenders when Daley was on the ice. Daley's -13 plus/minus also "led" the defense, for what it's worth, so it's not just analytics sorcery that sees issues with #6 in his own zone.
Bottom Line: If you're looking for a player who best exemplified the Dallas Stars of this past season, Trevor Daley is your guy. Offense up the wazoo, yes, just more offense than you could ever imagine, but unfortunately a good chunk of that offense was participated in by the opposing team. Is there a way to utilize Daley's high-grade skating and veteran savvy without exposing the team to his defensive shortcomings? A move to forward at this stage in his career isn't going to happen, but there might be a way to utilize Daley to maximize his contributions while minimizing his tendency to make things a bit too easy for opposing forwards, right? That's the conundrum the Stars will have to solve as they decide where Trevor Daley fits in next season.
Vote now: Rate Daley 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.