There was plenty to like (and dislike) about the Dallas Stars season in 2014-2015. One area that has seemingly been an area of mediocrity, last year and the years prior, was special teams.
Dallas may have improved their power play and penalty kill down the stretch last season, but it started fairly poorly. Considering the firepower offered in the Stars offense, the sputter of the power play to start the season was a disappointment.
If the Stars hope to have a chance at a strong start this coming season, the power play will need to be better to start the year. Consistency throughout the season will also serve them well, with the power play last year being streaky throughout the season.
By adding Patrick Sharp, Dallas solidified their top six forwards as well as gaining someone that can man the point on the man advantage. Combined with guys such as Jamie Benn, Tyler Seguin, Patrick Eaves, Ales Hemsky, Jason Spezza, Valeri Nichushkin and Cody Eakin, the Stars have plenty of options on power play units.
So what is some combinations we could see this season?
The 4F / 1D Option
Benn - Seguin - Eaves - Sharp - Klingberg
Hemsky - Spezza - Nichushkin - Eakin - Goligoski
This group would have Eaves' net front presence and two guys that can man the points in Klingberg and Sharp. It also provides two dangerous guys on the half-wall and the point. Spezza and Eakin on the second unit give two guys that can move the puck, and Nichushkin can use his large frame in front of the net to provide some screens.
Benn - Seguin - Eakin - Sharp - Klingberg
Hemsky - Spezza - Nichuskin - Eaves - Goligoski
Close to option one, option two flips Eakin and Eaves between units. This should give the option to have Benn and Eakin wreak havoc in front of the net for the first unit, and provide more net-front presence on the second unit. It's a balanced set that give an equal chance of converting on the power play, regardless of which unit is on the ice.
The 3F / 2D Option
To be honest, I'm struggling to come up with power play units that have two defensemen on the back end. I think that the Stars are not likely to go with the traditional power play unit setup.
Not that guys like Jordie Benn or Jason Demers or Jyrki Jokipakka can't play the backend on the man advantage. I just think the Stars have too much firepower in their forward units, with defensively responsible forwards with speed to help cut down on shorthanded chances against, that they simply won't need to do a setup like this.
The Stars had a lot of success last year with a four forward / one defenseman setup in the back half of the year. What does your ideal power play units look like? Do you think they go with a traditional setup or the forward-heavy setup?