Dallas Stars Daily Links: Figuring Out the Defensive Pairs

Could the Stars’ top four see some shuffling around? The entire top six? Plus, scoring is up, in-depth player pieces, and more.

If there’s one thing the Dallas Stars like to do, it’s shuffle lines. Or, at least, when it comes to the forward lines. The team’s defensive pairs are typically left alone, although heading into the second half of the season, head coach Rick Bowness isn’t ruling anything out:

“It’s not written in stone that those four, Miro has to play with Esa and John has to play with Suter... Miro and Ryan have played together a little and the numbers have been good. John and Esa have been together for a long enough time. Depending on the game, depending on the situations, depending on the opponent and everything, we’ll be flexible with that.”

There could even be a mix-up in who the Top 4 defensemen are. Bowness has been impressed by Jani Hankanpaa, and says his physical style of play could lead to more minutes:

“Jani is probably our best defenseman right now at ending plays. He’s so big and strong. You saw him take out Eriksson Ek against Minnesota, and unfortunately the kid got hurt, but that’s what I’m talking about, getting in there and finishing the check and ending the play right there and getting the support. Jani, because of his size and his physicality, he’s probably our best at doing that right now.”

You can read more from Saad Yousuf here.

Stars Stories

Scoring has been up across the league after the pause, providing a tougher challenge for Braden Holtby and Jake Oettinger:

The Stars have a long road ahead of them if they want to climb back into a playoff spot, even in terms of points percentage:

Around the League

In the sole Central game last night, the St. Louis Blues blew a two goal lead to lose 5-3 to the Pittsburgh Penguins:

Speaking of the Penguins, they’re the latest destination for Alex Nylander after making a trade with the Chicago Blackhawks:

Slowly but surely, Tuukka Rask is making his return to the Boston Bruins:

It’s not just the salary — team facilities are becoming a bit part of Free Agency:

With 14 goals in 25 games played, Cale Makar has been simply stunning.

Speaking of exciting young players;

Finally, here’s a look at the life of two-time Stanley Cup Champion, and Texas native, Blake Coleman: