Dallas Stars Daily Links: Will The Best Defense Mean More Offense?

The Stars’ best blueliners are consistently deadly off the rush, and Matthew DeFranks has receipts. Plus, life in the bubble, the OHL leans into inclusion, and more.

The latest version of conventional wisdom about the Dallas Stars is that they’re just fine defensively, but their offense needs work. The twist is that tweaking the defensive system should produce more offense – and that’s the challenge the team is tackling now.

It’s not quite as easy as unleashing John Klingberg and Miro Heiskanen and letting them run amok, though. The forward will need to adjust their own transition play, and the entire team needs to focus on puck possession. Matthew DeFranks watched a lot of video for his latest article, and he brought the numbers as well as the interviews:

“With the skaters we have back there, absolutely, we’re going to be putting a lot of pressure on our D to be jumping up in the play,” Stars interim coach Rick Bowness said. “We don’t want to make plays and stand still and watch. We’re going to make plays, and we’re going to be jumping.

“Now, all that being said, you do that, there’s a lot of onus on the forward with the puck. He’s got to make better plays, and if you’re going to bring up your D, you’ve got to respect the fact that they’re coming and you’ve got to make high percentage plays coming through the neutral zone.”

So how is this most likely to help? Let’s start with even-strength scoring, which the Stars definitely need more of:

Of the 130 even-strength goals the Stars scored during the regular season, a defenseman jumped into the rush on 28 of them (including twice when two defensemen were up in the play). On 21.5% of Stars goals this season, the Stars defensemen were doing what the coaching staff will ask them to maximize in Edmonton.

That figure included plays in which a defenseman trailed the rush and wasn’t involved in scoring the goal. It also included when a defenseman was crashing the net, but never touched the puck. The effort and idea to join the rush were there, and that’s what we’re measuring. Power plays and overtime were not included since defensemen are usually more aggressive anyway in those situations.

It’s tough to say how indicative the Stars goals are of their overall scoring chances, in relation to defensemen joining the rush. But it was still telling that in a fifth of their even-strength goals this season, the Stars watched a defenseman join the attack in the neutral zone.

Matt has more at The Dallas Morning News online. [SportsDayDFW]

Stars Stuff

More offense from defense would be nice, but Sean Shapiro suggests you might not want to hold your breath for it.

And it may be a while before you see the Victory Green Gang rocking their suits off-ice.

Still, you don’t want to miss the hockey when it comes back, so please make note of the changes to the broadcasting details.

Around The League(s)

Dan Rosen discusses dark-horse players, early start times, and why he thinks the 10th-seeded Florida Panthers could pull off a series upset in his latest mailbag.

I believe this is where we say, “Tyler Seguin has entered the chat.”

I hope Max Domi knows what he’s doing.

The Ontario Hockey League knows that youth hockey needs some character work. Rico Phillips has the experience to help.


Here’s a shot of Andrew Cogliano doing as he does, just to make you smile. Enjoy.