Ty Dellandrea may be ready to play for the Dallas Stars by the start of the 2021 NHL season. And let’s get this out there: The Stars may need him to play, ready or not.
Currently, the Stars are down one franchise center in Tyler Seguin, who is not expected to return from labrum surgery until March. As the Stars’ most promising prospect pivot, Dellandrea could find himself in the mix to take up Seguin’s share of ice time – and, most importantly, scoring.
The Athletic’s Saad Yousuf caught up with Dellandrea after he decamped to Finland to hone his game in SM-Liiga. Dellandrea landed with Julius Honka’s hometown team, JYP Jyväskylä, at the urging of player development coordinator Rich Peverley, who kept his own game sharp with JYP during the 2012 lockout. Dellandrea’s experience in the Stanley Cup bubble was priceless, but nothing beats regular play:
His last consistent run of games ended on Feb. 22, when he scored the Flint Firebirds’ lone goal in a 4-1 loss to the Kitchener Rangers. The OHL season prematurely ended a few weeks later. After a lengthy hiatus across the sports world, Dellandrea did participate in the June restart training camp in Dallas and followed the team to Edmonton for the entire playoff run as part of the taxi squad. He even got some game action in the bubble against the Nashville Predators....
While the experience was valuable for Dellandrea to gain a window into playoff intensity and professionalism, it didn’t allow him to hone his hockey skills on the ice in a way that would come from competitive hockey games or even a developmental camp. His primary ice time came in practices, when coaches were far more concerned with the NHL squad and upcoming playoff opponent than examining the development of young talent.
As you already know if you read Tyler’s Wednesday Links post, the Liiga has hit pause on the current season and appears ready to ride out the pandemic during what is expected to be a savage winter. But Dellandrea’s experience has already been beneficial. Will it be enough?
Playing with JYP has helped Dellandrea beyond just his scoring touch. He’s getting work in on faceoffs, taking 54 in six games (48.1 percent). In his last game alone, he registered almost six minutes on the power play and has been on the extra-man unit for significant portions throughout his time there.
If the Stars were dealing with Seguin’s injury in a normal year, Dellandrea would be a near-lock to make the NHL team. He’s got plenty of promise and his game includes elements the Stars will be looking for to replace the departed Mattias Janmark and Corey Perry. But every NHL club is looking to keep budgets down during the pandemic, and right now, Dallas doesn’t have to pay Dellandrea an NHL salary. That could be the difference-maker if he winds up in a close battle with someone like Justin Dowling.
There’s more behind the paywall. [The Athletic DFW]
NHL.com fantasy guru Rob Reese chooses his top Stars roto-league prospects, from John Klingberg to Anton Khudobin.
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Around The Leagues
European players are a stronger force in the NHL than ever, according to Andrew Podnieks’ new IIHF overview.
More Europeans than ever have played in the NHL this year, both in absolute (305 players) and relative (31.3%) numbers. Sweden led the way with 113 players.— IIHF (@IIHFHockey) December 1, 2020
Meanwhile, the past two No. 1 overall picks have decided to sit out the IIHF tournament.
Jack Hughes of the Devils and Alexis Lafreniere of the Rangers, the No. 1 picks in the past two NHL Drafts, will not play in the 2021 IIHF World Junior Championship.https://t.co/qGq2GTCP0v— NHL.com (@NHLdotcom) December 4, 2020
If the Québec major juniors can pull it off, can other leagues follow suit?
Here’s something fun to keep your own hockey mind sharp while we wait for more action.
Want to strut your red-white-and-blue bona fides? Invite Wonder Woman to model your new sweater. Well played, Washington Capitals. Well played.