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Dallas Stars Daily Links: Forward Line Philosophy

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Is Dallas set to change how they construct their forward lines? Plus, a frantic offseason ahead for the league, Pierre McGuire gets hired by the Senators, and more.

Dallas Stars v Chicago Blackhawks Photo by Chase Agnello-Dean/NHLI via Getty Images

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Long standing critics of the line will point out that it’s a bit outdated to have a true “checking” line, and that they need to be able to provide sufficient offense as well.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.


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