It’s time to officially welcome the 2018 offseason! While other teams have already begun playing for the Stanley Cup, the Dallas Stars are sitting at home this year after a disastrous March which caused them to plummet out of a playoff spot.
However, just because the Stars aren’t playing doesn’t mean there isn’t plenty to write about. So we’re kicking off our offseason coverage with player grades for the season. Let’s get started with Stars rookie forward Jason Dickinson.
Many fans entered the 2017-2018 season expecting Dickinson to have a breakthrough year. Perhaps he would start the year in the AHL, but he would be called up eventually due to injuries and then cement his spot in the regular lineup once he was in Dallas.
That’s exactly what happened, but not as quickly as everyone thought. After bouncing up and down between the two leagues, it wasn’t until Martin Hanzal was confirmed to have season-ending surgery in early March that Dickinson would be in Dallas for good. And since the Stars are staying home this postseason, Dickinson is already back in Cedar Park, gearing up for a Calder Cup run with the Texas Stars.
In the AHL, scoring hasn’t been an issue for Dickinson. He currently has 28 points in 40 games, a 0.70 point per game pace that is good for fourth on the team. Unfortunately, that did not translate well to the NHL. In 27 games with the Stars, Dickinson managed just two assists and no goals.
Those aren’t exactly inspiring numbers, but in Dickinson’s defense, he wasn’t given many opportunities to produce. His average time on ice was 8:32, ahead of only Curtis McKenzie, and last among all players who played at least 20 games for the Stars this season (all stats courtesy of Hockey Reference). He never featured on the power play and had just six games where he played more than 10 minutes, all of which came before his permanent call-up in early March. Since then, he managed more than nine minutes just three times, and his average time on ice was just 7:48.
Dickinson also did not have the highest quality of teammates. He was usually paired with the likes of Devin Shore or Brett Ritchie, who also had rather disappointing seasons. He was occasionally paired with a skilled player such as Mattias Janmark, but only for the start of a game, and he never got a chance to play with the likes of Jamie Benn or Alexander Radulov.
Of course, it’s hard to justify giving a player more time on ice or better teammates when they aren’t producing on the scoresheet, even if they had very limited opportunities to try to score. Even advanced statistics can’t bail out Dickinson; his CF% was an average 49.6%, which was only good for 17th on the team out of players with at least 20 games played. On top of this, his FF% was an average 47.6%, which is dead last on the team. This is despite starting 54.2% of his shifts in the offensive zone, which ranks fifth on the team and third highest among forwards.
All in all, Dickinson had a disappointing rookie season, but it’s also important to understand the context of his struggles. Looking forward, Dickinson will be waiver-elligible next season, meaning that barring a trade — which doesn’t seem to be in GM Jim Nill’s plans — he will be with Dallas for the entirety of next season.
The big question is — was this year just a rough start to Dickinson’s career, or a sign of things to come?
Grade Jason Dickinson’s rookie season
This poll is closed
A - Points aren’t everything
B - He did well with his limited opportunities
C - Not bad, but not exactly good either
D - He probably should have stayed in Cedar Park
F - Another 1st Round bust