If you tilt your head just right, you can see a version of this season that actually went very well for Cody Eakin. Investment in the top six combined with improvements underneath could have put the energetic forward in a position to maximize the value of his versatile skillset. A guy that can cameo almost anywhere while mainly anchoring an energy line is an NHL coach’s dream, only it turned into more of a nightmare.
First, his colleagues started dropping like flies over the summer, then Eakin himself succumbed to a nasty pre-season knee injury. The Ginger Ninja’s first game of the campaign came on November 17th. By that time the scuffling Stars were 7-6-5, scored three first period goals, and then held on to defeat the eventual worst team in the league by the skin of their teeth. The beatings would continue until morale improved.
Numbers-wise, it was not a good year for Cody Eakin. In 60 games, the mostly-center scored three goals and nine assists for a total of 12 points. He generated 49 PIMs (a career high) while averaging 16:49 in ice time. That last number is significant because, despite anemic production, only Tyler Seguin and Jamie Benn played more among Stars forwards.
Eakin played significant minutes on both the power play (1:09 APP-TOI) and the penalty kill (1:42 ASH-TOI). The power play was bad (17.9% - 20th) while the penalty kill was historically bad (73.9% - 30th).
The fancystats aren’t much kinder. Eakin posted a 48.7 CF% / -3.7 CF% Rel and a 48.2 FF% / -4.3 FF% Rel despite starting 52.9% of his shifts in the offensive zone. At even strength, Cody Eakin’s 49.45 SAT% is good for 17th on the squad. Even fate seemed to have it in for Eakin in the form of a 95.5 PDO.
So where do the Stars and Eakin go from here?
Defenders will point to a brutal confluence of circumstances. Eakin got hurt and came back just in time to be thrown into a tire fire by a coach that would ultimately lose his job. It honestly reminded me a little bit when the floundering Stars looked to Steve Ott and Chris Connor for a late, season-saving surge.
But this isn’t an article about where Eakin fits best on an NHL roster, or with the Stars specifically. It’s an evaluation of how the 2016-2017 season went. Unfortunately, Cody Eakin seems to be an almost perfect personification of the Stars as a whole.
What Grade Would You Give Cody Eakin?
This poll is closed
A - He didn’t Ruffle the lines!
B - 95.5 PDO! He was unlucky!
C - Not great, Bob
D - Keep swingin’ Charlie, maybe you’ll give ‘em a cold
F - Inheritor of the Trevor Daley Award for most divisive player (from Alex Goligoski)