Dallas Stars Daily Links: Why Aren’t The Stars Icing A Heiskanen-Klingberg Pairing?

Is there anything about this that is not worth trying, especially now? Plus, Joe Pavelski owns Vegas, the USA-Canada rivalry is renewed, and more.

As one of DBD’s #fancystats mavens has already pointed out, the Dallas Stars’ putative identity as a defense-first team is given the lie by their actual numbers. So why not look for a little more offense in their defense?

One solution for this might be to pair the team’s two best offensive blueliners a bit more often than on empty-net plays. But the Stars seem to be avoiding that cheat code at all costs. The Dallas Morning News’ Matthew DeFranks investigated:

The Stars have been reluctant to ice Miro Heiskanen and John Klingberg at the same time, if even just to take advantage of offensive-zone faceoffs or icings. They have been the most-used pairing during empty-net situations — more than every other pairing combined this season — but almost invisible at 5 on 5.

Assistant coach John Stevens runs the defense, meaning he puts together pairs and chooses when to deploy them during games. It was the job that [Rick] Bowness used to do before he assumed head coaching duties on Dec. 10, 2019, when Jim Montgomery was fired.

When asked whether the team considers using Heiskanen-Klingberg, Stevens said, “not really.”

We can go over the handedness blah and the puck-mover with enforcer blah blah blah, but here’s a takeaway you may not have expected – this reticence did not begin with Bowness:

Heiskanen-Klingberg was the third-most-used pair by the Stars at 5 on 5 from the start of 2018-19 to Montgomery’s firing. Bowness deployed them often in the offensive zone, as they had nearly triple the number of offensive-zone faceoffs as defensive-zone draws. He saw opportunities throughout a game to create offense, not just when the Stars were trailing with their goalie pulled.

They were also one of the league’s five best pairs (minimum 400 minutes at 5 on 5), according to possession statistics compiled by Natural Stat Trick.

Matt has more. [SportsDayDFW]

Stars Stuff

Nothing to see here, just Joe Pavelski beating Steven Stamkos at the NHL All-Star skills competition.

Around The Leagues

It was all quiet on Murderers’ Row last night, so let’s take a look at the non-Central Division headlines:

Jack Eichel’s recovery from his long-delayed neck surgery is clipping right along.

I’m just gonna leave this here and let someone else knock it out of the park.

(OK, I lied: The Florida Panthers have paid a bigger price for the Chicago Blackhawks’ sex-abuse scandal than the Blackhawks have...until now. ba-dum-shh)

Team USA and Hockey Canada faced off for the first time on Beijing ice last night, and the game was just as fast and exciting as you’d expect.

And with that, the real games begin.

Greetings From Scenic Cedar Park

The Texas Stars have tapped prospect Dawson Barteaux to provide defensive help.

They’re gearing up for Pink in the Rink Weekend, too.


One final salute to Pavs’ All-Star jaunt. Enjoy.