There was plenty to be disappointed with from the Dallas Stars’ 2020-21 NHL season, but topping the list would be the team’s checking line of Radek Faksa, Blake Comeau, and Andrew Cogliano. Long heralded as a staple of the Stars’ identify, the FCC line drastically underperformed this season, both visually and analytically.
Long standing critics of the line will point out that it’s a bit outdated to have a true “checking” line, and that they need to be able to provide sufficient offense as well. Just look at the Tampa Bay Lightning, who boast a third line of Blake Coleman, Yanni Gourde and Barclay Goodrow:
The issue isn’t just that on a roster with plenty of talent, the third line is hogging most of the playing time; it’s that their play on the ice doesn’t even warrant that ice time... in comparison to the FCC line, Tampa Bay’s line scored 17 more goals, let in two fewer pucks and had a substantial edge in Shots For and Corsi For percentage. Is it fair to compare to the back-to-back champions? The Stars openly proclaim championship-or-bust aspirations, so, yes.
If there’s a silver lining, it’s that the NHL is often called a “copy cat” league, and the foundation is there for a change in lineup philosophy. Cogliano will likely not be re-signed, and per head coach Rick Bowness, putting captain Jamie Benn at center gives them some added flexibility:
“With Jamie at center, that changes things a little bit,” Bowness recently told The Athletic. “We’ll have Seggy back next year and Roope is obviously a centerman. We’ll take the best 12, 13 forwards that we have and we’ll figure it out from there. … We’re wide open to anything we think will make our team better. Do we have to have a checking line? No.”
You can read more from Saad Yousuf here.
Around the League
The playoffs may be over, but July is still going to be busier than ever:
The Stanley Cup playoffs just finished, but the fun is just getting started. Before the Lightning even enjoy their second Stanley Cup boat parade, the rest of the league is already deep in preparations for a frantic off-season.https://t.co/LUuUls0Kp7— The Hockey News (@TheHockeyNews) July 11, 2021
Vladamir Tarasenko is on the trading block, but what would it take to land him?
Well folks, a team has finally done it — the Ottawa Senators have hired Pierre McGuire:
I’m sharing it again to reinforce the fact that yes, this actually happened:
Here is a thing that actually happened with Pierre McGuire and the @Senators. Since many of you have been asking, a few thoughts about this hiring and the man himself. #NHL (1/5)https://t.co/WB5mhQXAFj— Greg Wyshynski (@wyshynski) July 12, 2021
The Montreal Canadiens fell short of completing their Cinderella run. Question is, will they be able to make it back?
You've heard about it at length: the Canadiens exceeded all expectations this season. But can they do it again on a regular basis over the next few years?@JasonChen16 takes a look:https://t.co/VLaXT7fQCP— The Hockey News (@TheHockeyNews) July 11, 2021
Finally, remember when Jaromir Jagr was on the Washington Capitals? Their fans sure wish they didn’t:
On July 11, 2001, the Capitals stunned the NHL by trading for Jaromir Jagr.— The Athletic NHL (@TheAthleticNHL) July 12, 2021
But the move that was supposed to put the Caps over the top turned out to be one they would regret long before this 20 year anniversary of the deal.
✍️ @Tarik_ElBashir https://t.co/WiTztX03FS