When building an NHL hockey team, a common and successful strategy is to fill the roster with players that specialize in different important areas — players that are elite skaters, players that are strong and physical, and players that are shooting specialists, etc.
At the same time, however, it can also be quite advantageous to have players that can do a little bit of everything, which always gives the coaching staff an option no matter the situation.
Dallas Stars forward Devin Shore is certainly the latter of these two categories.
The 23-year-old Shore had an interesting season. A player that has been with the organization since he was drafted in the 2nd round of the 2012 NHL Entry Draft, Shore was entrusted to take on a bigger role with the Stars in 2017-18, and helped to replace departed players such as Cody Eakin, Patrick Eaves, Patrick Sharp, and Aleš Hemský.
What a pass by @devinshore to find Elie. pic.twitter.com/b8klCnnsim— NHL GIFs (@NHLGIFs) March 15, 2018
His even-strength ice time stayed nearly the same, with an average of 12:11 per game compared to 12:08 last year. However, his shorthanded time on ice per game went up from 0:09 to 1:24. And while his average power play minutes technically stayed similar as well (1:49 compared to 1:50), he spent more time this season than last on the team’s top unit.
His ice time in relation to his teammates also does a good job of demonstrating how Shore was used by his coaches this season. He was sixth among forwards at average even-strength minutes, fifth on the power play, and fifth shorthanded.
Slap passes working to perfection yet again. Radulov scores once again as he waits and rips one past Mike Smith. 2-1. pic.twitter.com/Ui75ofgY8u— Dylan Nadwodny (@dnadders) October 28, 2017
When it comes to faceoffs, Shore regularly chipped in there as well, as he finished sixth on the team — albeit at a success rate of just 46.3%.
In other words, the Stars didn’t rely heavily on Shore in any particular scenarios, but he was something of an everyman for the team, and slotted in wherever he was needed.
Jumping in for the goal and the boards - @devinshore. #DALvsMTL pic.twitter.com/IhmVNu3Skz— NHL (@NHL) November 22, 2017
The big question, of course, is how well did he actually perform in that everyman role?
Offensively, he finished with 32 points in 82 games, which was good for sixth among Dallas forwards, and seventh overall on the team. That’s a decently respectable amount of production.
On the defensive side of things, Shore more or less held his own overall, neither suppressing a ton of chances nor hemorrhaging them. The website Natural Stat Trick is a good places to go and dig through the numbers if you’re curious.
Now, what about plus-minus? Shore’s plus-minus rating of -30 really jumps off the stat sheet, especially since the next worst Star is Martin Hanzal at -14. However, as is becoming more well-known, plus-minus is a flawed stat. Shore’s PDO — a measure of luck — was a disastrous .950 this season, which is incredibly low. Only Martin Hanzal, at .948, was worse on the Dallas roster.
In other words, it seems likely that Shore was moreso unlucky than bad on the defensive side of the puck this season.
When it comes to evaluating a player’s season, context is often important. While it feels like Shore has been with the Stars organization for a long time, as was mentioned earlier, it’s worth mentioning that 2017-18 was only his second NHL season and third professional year overall. To ask a sophomore player to play what was, essentially, top six minutes and contribute in all scenarios is no small request. Whether Shore was equipped for the task or asked to do more than was reasonable is a question worth considering.
And for all of that talk about Shore being an everyman and a Jack of all trades, there is still one area where he is undoubtedly one of the leaders of this team: enthusiasm:
when you beat the blackhawks and the predators in the same week headed into christmas pic.twitter.com/7EBFUrGHvS— Dylan Nadwodny (@dnadders) December 24, 2017
So, how do you think Devin Shore fared this year?
Grading Devin Shore’s 2017-18 Season
This poll is closed
A - He exceed expectations in a difficult season for the team
B - He took steps forward and established himself as a contributing piece of the team
C - There were some things to like, but he didn’t make enough of an impact
D - He struggled a lot and didn’t contribute as much as he needed to
F - He struggled so much that his spot on next season’s roster is in jeopardy