Dallas Stars Roster Watch: Some Good, Some Bad
Despite a strong start, the Stars managed to throw away three points last week. It's a grim situation, but there are bright spots. Check out the Ups and Downs in this week's roster watch.
This week, our beloved Stars could only manage to tread water (1-1-1). They crushed Winnipeg, but then lost winnable games against Colorado and Tampa Bay. The Colorado loss was particularly galling, because they're a divisional opponent, and the Stars carried a lead into the game's final minute. An optimist would point out that they're still just five points back from the 8th-seeded Vancouver Canucks, but optimists are getting awfully hard to find these days.
Still, the overall results must be taken with a grain of salt. Yes, the Stars are a struggling, flawed team, but there's a lot to like as well.
Patrick Eaves (3 GP / 2 G / 4:12 APPTOI) - In five games since his return from the IR, Eaves has registered three goals. That's a torrid pace. The fact he led the team this week in offensive zone starts (85%) helps, as does the fact his lines produced a +26 shot differential (next best was Tyler Seguin's +19). Guess that's what more than four minutes of power play time each night will get you.
Alex Goligoski (3 GP / 2 pts / 10 Blks) - At 41.3 ZSO%, Goligoski sees less of the offensive zone than any other Stars defender. Despite that, his 47.6 Corsi-For% is second to only John Klingberg's otherworldly 58.9 CF%. He also hasn't taken a minus since January 17th, in case you're into that sort of thing. Goose saw a mere 28 seconds on the power play, but still managed to give up only one more scoring chance than he allowed.
John Klingberg (3 GP / 3 G / 5 Pts) - I already mentioned the Corsi thing. I mentioned the goals thing, and the point thing. What's left? How about consistency? In his last ten games, Klingberg has only missed the scoresheet four times (he has 13 points over that span). For a defenseman, that's incredible.
Ryan Garbutt (3 GP / 0 Pts / 8 SOG) - Garbutt is back to being a bulldog pain-in-the-butt. He gets the dirty minutes (44.8 ZSO%), plays the body (5 hits), and moves the play away from his own goaltender (+3 Scoring Chances).
Erik Cole (2 GP / 1 G / 15:23 ATOI) - Back from injury, and still productive, Erik Cole could be one of the more interesting storylines for the next month. For all the worry and wonder, Cole has played his way into being an integral part of the Stars offense. Does that make him a trade asset?
Jamie Benn (3 GP / 3 A / 7 SOG) - The Captain has registered at least a point in every game since the All Star Break ended. His eight individual scoring chances last week were good for second on the team. Benn also tacked on four hits. Big week for the big man.
Cody Eakin (3 GP / 54.2 FoW% / 42.4 OZS%) - Despite a tough week in the goals against column (-3 goal differential), I'm going to keep Eakin up. He just does too much thankless work to go unrecognized. There's too much hustle, too much intensity. Call it a one week reprieve for body of work. We can do that, it's in the rules.
Vernon Fiddler (3 GP / 36.5 CF% / 0 GA) - Some way, somehow, Fiddler managed to avoid getting scored on last week. It was an off week on the dot (45.3 FoW%), but a relatively productive one offensively (2 A). The tipping point this week is a +2 penalty ratio (3 drawn versus 1 taken).
Shawn Horcoff (3 GP / 1 G / 4 SOG) - An odd week. Points in two of three games, including a goal, but lousy possession numbers (39.1 CF%). Horcoff did manage to limit the usefulness of the possession he conceded (only 9 scoring chances against), so there's that. The Committee favors actual production in all things, so he stays up.
Jason Spezza (3 GP / 2 Pts / 7 Scoring Chances) - Spezza's +17 scoring chance differential was the best on the squad this week. That's the sort of differential a guy starting 70% of his shifts in the offensive zone should put up. If anything, the fact so many chances generated so few goals should be a negative. Ultimately, his lines generated five of Dallas' ten goals. He survives.
Ales Hemsky (3 GP / 2 A / 4 SOG) - Hemsky had a very similar week to his pal Jason Spezza. A couple of points and a good scoring chance differential (+6) offset some nasty negative possession numbers (-7.5 CF% relative to his teammates). More good than bad, though.
Kari Lehtonen (3 GP / 2 L / 10 GA) - You have to go back to December 29th to find a game Kari won without five goals from his offense. During that stretch, he's topped .900 SV% six times (from 15 total games).
Anders Lindback (0 GP) - All that stuff I said about Kari, and Lindback still couldn't get a game.
Jyrki Jokipakka (2 GP / 2 H / -3) - Got tagged for goals against in both games he played this past week. Welcome back to the NHL, I guess. Jyrki did celebrate his return with a ton of time on the ice (19:56 vs Colorado, 15:56 vs Tampa Bay). Getting back in is step one, but Jokipakka will need to do better to stay in.
Trevor Daley (3 GP / 1 G / 9 Blks) - Two goals for, five goals against. With Daley, it's always going to be a battle between the goals he scores and the goals he gives up. This week, he lost the battle.
David Schlemko (1 GP / 0 Pts / 14:43 TOI) - Managed to get tagged for both Jets goals in the January 31st win, then it was off to the bench. Can't stay up if you can't stay in, says the Committee.
Tyler Seguiin (3 GP / 0 G / 4 A) - Seguin last scored on January 18th, in a win against the Chicago Blackhawks. Yes, four assists is still a very meaningful contribution, but it's swayed a bit by the fact three of them came in the 5-2 win against Winnipeg. A very important win, mind you. Can you get a sense of what I'm grappling with here? Seguin has been very good, but somehow, I'm still disappointed. I never claimed these rankings were fair.
Antoine Roussel (3 GP / 43.8 OZS% / 7 H) - No points since January 17th (a goal), which isn't great. It also isn't the whole story. Like Garbutt (and Eakin for that matter), Roussel's primary responsibility is damage control, and he does that with aplomb (+5 scoring chances).
Jordie Benn (3 GP / 13:34 ATOI / 7 Blks) - Solid week. I feel like, lately, we keep adding numbers to the "It's been X days since last incident" sign.
Jason Demers (3 GP / 4 Blks / 3 H) - Of the ten goals Dallas gave up last week, Demers was only on the ice for a pair. Not to say he generated a ton of offense (two goals for / 46.2 CF%). It was just a generally solid week from a generally solid player.
Colton Sceviour (3 GP / 1 A / 12:57 ATOI) - The ebb and flow of Sceviour's ice time suggests the coaches are looking for something, but not necessarily getting it. More than thirteen minutes against the Jets, more than fifteen against the Avs, then under ten against the Bolts. His current pace (32 points) would comfortably represent a career high as does the fact he's made it into 45 games so far this season.