Jordie Benn, Jason Demers, Alex Goligoski, Patrik Nemeth and Jamie Oleksiak. Now what do all of these players have in common?
Well for one, a recent past with the stars, whether bitter or sweet. They have all suited up for Dallas in the past three years and have now moved on to different situations. Yet, while these guys might not be in a Dallas Stars jersey anymore, that doesn't mean we aren’t any less curious about what they’ve been up to this season.
The most recent defenseman to leave the Big D is the 6’7” Jamie Oleksiak. With the Stars bringing so many defensemen into the season on their roster, it only made sense that they got rid of the young improving player. This season has seen Julius Honka’s play up and down, coming in and out of the pairs, and then Greg Pateryn and Stephen Johns becoming staples in the defensive core. Oleksiak was slowly working himself out as he couldn’t seem to ever get a footing with this lineup.
After being traded to Pittsburgh, Oleksiak has found his role on the Penguins roster and within their defensive rotation. It seems he has gained more confidence with his new teammates, and in return, is finding more time on the ice and more points on his stat sheet.
The Pittsburgh Penguins sit atop the Metropolitan Division at 39-25-4, after a rough start to the year. This season with Pittsburgh, Oleksiak has three goals and six assists through 33 games, compared to only one goal and two assists with Dallas through 21 games. Oleksiak has seen his minutes rise significantly with the Penguins, as he is averaging 17:18 TOI (time on ice) and 571 total minutes, compared to 15:00 TOI and 315 total in Dallas. With 103 hits on the year with Pittsburgh and 35 blocks, he continues to be a big presence wherever needed.
Patrik Nemeth was the first defenseman to exit the Stars defensive carousel this season as Dallas’ core on the blue-line was already shaping up. He was placed on waivers by Dallas right before the season began and the Colorado Avalanche were quick to grab him. Nemeth had many setbacks in Dallas and could never seem to find the footing necessary to stay with the team, but Colorado was his opportunity at a new system and a fresh start.
The Avalanche are currently fighting to secure a wild-card spot in the tough battle that has developed in the Central Division. They currently sit in that final wild-card spot at 35-24-8 and are just two points out from Dallas in first.
Nemeth has 11 assists and three goals on the year with the Avalanche, with a more than solid plus/minus total at 25, putting him at 11th in the league for plus/minus total. Nemeth is averaging 19:37 TOI, which is a career-high for the defenseman. It appears that Nemeth has gotten the fresh start he needs in Colorado. He has 52 hits through the season so far and has a whopping 147 total blocked shots - currently tied for sixth in the league.
Traded from the Stars to the Arizona Coyotes back in the summer of 2016, Goligoski has spent two seasons in Phoenix now. Fitting the mold of what Arizona wanted in a versatile defenseman, the Stars sent him off for a fifth-round pick that year in the draft.
Arizona is currently 21-24-11 and looking to continue their rebuild behind the likes of Clayton Keller and Oliver Ekman-Larsson. Goligoski has 30 total points, 21 assists, and nine goals this season, with a poor -22 plus/minus - a career-worst and 14th worst in the league. Goligoski has had an interesting season to say the least, but still averages 23:13 TOI, which is slightly above his career-average TOI at 22:45. He has 101 hits this season along with 112 total blocked shots, which are slightly below his totals from last year, but above his averages when he was with Dallas.
In 2014, the San Jose Sharks traded Jason Demers to the Stars, where he spent one season before heading off to play with the Florida Panthers. The Panthers then traded Demers to the Arizona Coyotes in the offseason of 2017. Now at 29-years-old, its been about a year and a half since Demers suited up in a Stars sweater.
The Coyotes are currently sitting with the worst record in the league and a possible number one pick in the upcoming draft as a result. Demers has 20 points on the season with Arizona, 14 of those being assists, in addition to six goals. He is averaging 21:13 time on ice (a career-high for the defenseman), while also accruing 59 hits, 75 blocks, and 17 takeaways.
After spending six seasons with Dallas and having the duo of the Benn brothers for quite some time, this trade was and is still is a bittersweet moment. In late February 2017, Dallas traded Jordie Benn to the Montreal Candiens for Greg Pateryn and a fourth-round pick, which was used to draft prospect Liam Hawel. At the time, seeing Jordie Benn head off to play for his first team in the NHL without his brother was a bit emotional for most fans. But looking at that trade now, Greg Pateryn has panned out for the Stars on defense in more ways than one and it remains to be seen if Dallas will re-sign him in the upcoming off-season to be a staple in the defensive core.
Jordie Benn’s season thus far with Montreal has been, well, just about the same as every other season he had with Dallas. Benn exhibits a more physical presence on defense, and is an old-school style defender that will get down and dirty with hits and blocks, while points come second.
To date, he has 13 points this season, with nine of those being assists and the other four coming from goals. Benn has accumulated 72 hits, 132 blocked shots, and 17 takeaways so far, and he is currently 15th in the league in total amount of shots blocked. The Montreal Canadiens are currently 25-30-11 and are six places out from the wild-card race. It looks as if Benn and the Canadiens’ season will go no further past the regular season.