While the Dallas Stars had a disappointing season last year under Ken Hitchcock, there are silver linings to be found, such as the breakout campaign by Radek Faksa. Although his time on ice actually decreased from 16:10 the previous season to 15:16, it was clear that the head coach relied heavily on the young Czech:
To put things mildly, Faksa was used in a heavy defensive role these past two seasons, but that went to an extreme during Ken Hitchcock’s lone season (version 2.0) with Dallas. Faksa began a whopping 66.6 percent of his shifts in the defensive zone, up from an already hearty 59.3 percent the previous year. The 24-year-old also topped all Stars forwards by averaging 1:59 in penalty kill time per game.
As a result, Faksa ended up seventh in voting for the Selke Trophy, given annually to the league’s best defensive forward, including two first-place votes. But Faksa likely won’t win the award until he produces more on offense as well, which requires a vote of confidence from his coaching staff:
The Stars should absolutely experiment with different ways to get Faksa on the ice more often, ideally rewarding him for doing all of that dirty work by giving him better chances to score. While Faksa would probably struggle to land on Dallas’ top power play unit, it’s probably not outrageous to give him more than last season’s paltry average of 14 seconds of PP time per game.
You can read more in James O’Brien’s piece, which includes a shout-out to our own Derek Neumeier, here.
I don’t know about you, but this isn’t the sort of company I would like to keep:
Which teams dumped the puck in the most last season?— The Point (@PNThockey) August 11, 2018
The Coyotes dumped it in more than anyone and had the worst puck recovery rate in the league in terms of getting it back.
The Sabres also dumped it in at a high rate but were the best team at re-gaining possession. pic.twitter.com/CqRyZryq9x
Time for a debate in the comments section? In a ranking of the Stars’ top five prospects, Jake Oettinger makes the list while Colton Point doesn’t. [NHL]
The Stars now have a second video coach, rounding out the new staff:
Texas Stars video coach Sean Andrake is getting called up to the NHL and will be the second video coach on the Dallas Stars staff with Kelly Forbes— Sean Shapiro (@seanshapiro) August 10, 2018
I know the offseason is typically boring and slow, but it’s also cool to catch up with players during their time off:
Here’s a great read on how Michael Gruber has transcended from being a simple “sound guy” into local sports icon. [Blackout Dallas]
Regardless of your opinion on rap music, it is pretty cool to see a big celebrity donning Victory Green:
Around the League
But even if you don’t know much about Dvorak, it truly isn’t a puzzling contract, especially compared to some others...
My new ESPN column is up, featuring five baffling NHL contracts, Alex Kovalev’s criticism of the league and much more! https://t.co/3eoxAuGlhq— Greg Wyshynski (@wyshynski) August 10, 2018
More contract talk! Here are five big name players who signed a one-year deal, but might be eyeing an extension around the new year: [The Hockey News]
Man, I should have stuck with my gut...
Upset about where John Klingberg landed? Down Goes Brown stresses that while making lists like these are harder than they look, it’s okay to be upset about them: [Vice Sports]
Heartbreak of the weekend hands down goes to Team USA, who lost to Canada 6-5 in overtime at the Hlinka Gretzky Cup after a controversial call:
Tom Renney says no video review was used because it was decided at directorate meeting all 3 rinks used in the tournament could not be consistent in that capacity between the Red Deer rink and Edmonton rink hosting the 5th and 7th place games.— Corey Pronman (@coreypronman) August 11, 2018
Here’s a quick, light-hearted read to cheer USA fans up — 31 unrealistic predictions for each NHL team, as well as a dose of reality. [The Hockey News]
Comments section, I need your help. Wait until Christmas, or go ahead and order a No. 4 jersey?