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Dallas Stars Daily Links: Don’t Forget About Lindell

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John Klingberg seems to get all the love from Stars fans, but a large part of his success is thanks to defensive partner Esa Lindell. Plus Central division updates and let’s talk about Vegas.

Dallas Stars v Buffalo Sabres

Dallas Stars defenseman John Klingberg is on pace for a 78 point season, and seems to finally be getting some Norris consideration from the national media.

When not talking about Klingberg, Stars fans usually talk about Julius Honka, or perhaps Greg Pateryn, or maybe even Miro Heiskanen (who isn’t even on the team currently).

But today, let’s talk about a player who occasionally gets his name thrown out in praise but not nearly enough: Esa Lindell.

If you want to dig deeper, his advanced analytics also look pretty good. With a 54.11 CF%, Lindell ranks 11th amongst defenders that have played more than 700 minutes this season (Klingberg ranks ninth in CF% with 54.24).

In defensive point shares, a stat tracked by Hockey Reference similar to WAR in baseball, Lindell is fifth in the league at 3.5.

The only players ahead of him? Los Angeles Kings defenseman Drew Doughty (4.5), Boston Bruins captain Zdeno Chara (3.9), Anaheim Duck Josh Manson (3.7), and Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman (3.7).

While he won’t get any Norris consideration, it’s easy to see that Lindell is playing like a true Top 2 defenseman this season. And if you don’t believe me, don’t take my work for it: ask his defensive partner:

I think we both just have a lot more confidence now,” Klingberg said. “He’s not the flashiest player, but he does everything right, and he can play both offense and defense, we got chemistry for sure. It’s a good communication he talks a lot, even if he’s Finnish. I think it’s more comfortable and more confidence, that’s the biggest thing.”

You can read more over at Sean’s place here.


Stars Stories

The Stars gear up to take on the Florida Panthers tonight. Here are some practice notes from yesterday: [NHL]

Martin Hanzal looks to be out due to injury again, so a familiar face is back with the big boys:

Speaking of the youngins, Stepneski has the latest on the Stars’ prospect cupboard:[NHL]

Arguably the best of the bunch, Miro Heiskanen, will be representing Finland at the Olympic games. Here’s what the greatest Finn ever, former Star Jere Lehtinen, had to say about the young defenseman:


Central Census

A few Central Division teams played last night: first up, the Minnesota Wild landed a solid 3-1 win over the Ottawa Senators. [Hockey Wilderness]

Meanwhile the Colorado Avalanche landed their 10th consecutive victory with a 4-2 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs. [Pension Plan Puppets]

Side note: his team might not have won, but Auston Matthews produced my new favorite reaction gif:

(No really, I’m going to be using that waaay too much now).

And finally, the Chicago Blackhawks took on the Tampa Bay Lightning. They weren’t nearly as successful as their rivals, getting shut out 2-0. [Second City Hockey]

Here are the standings after last night:

Colorado has come out of nowhere recently, rolling on all cylinders since the Matt Duchene trade. Potential Hart candidate Nathan MacKinnon offers his two cents: [Sportsnet]

Also they didn’t play last night, but this makes me a sad panda:


League Links

Believe it or not, the Vegas Golden Knights were first place in the league until that Lightning win. And it’s not just some fluke. [The Hockey News]

Still, how often does the top dog around the midseason point go on to win the cup? Ryan Dixon takes a look back at recent history: [Sportsnet]

This is a pretty cool idea: I highly recommend you all give Klingberg (or even Lindell) a Norris vote, and maybe Mattias Janmark some Bill Masterton love?

Speaking of awards, Matthew Barzal is the new the Calder favorite, which probably won’t make DBD commenters happy... [FanRag Sports]

Meanwhile Charles McAvoy has had to put his season on pause after heart surgery. [NHL]

And while we’re talking about the Boston Bruins, Marc Savard has officially retired from the NHL despite not playing in years:

Okay, one last Boston related thing: with the Lightning coming back to the pack recently and the Bruins surging, the Atlantic might be back open for grabs. That and more in DownGoesBrown’s Weekend Wrap: [Sportsnet]

One big reason for Tampa Bay’s recent struggles? Injuries, and they’re getting worse: [The Hockey News]

Will this make you more likely to watch the All-Star game?

Who are some of the most underrated players in the league? Chris Oddo investigates: [FanRag Sports]


Finally...

Feels like it’s been awhile since I ended on a positive note, so here y’all go: