Dallas Stars Roster Watch: Tyler Seguin, Jason Spezza Among Early Season Stat Leaders
Week by week we examine the state of the Stars roster. So far there are plenty of stand outs, and plenty of guys with room to improve. How the roster continues to develop will go a long way in determining the success of Dallas' season.
Six games into the season, and your Dallas Stars sit at 3-1-2, good for 8 points, and 8th place in the already-packed Western Conference. We've already seen slumps busted, seasons ended, and high drama, so this seems like as good a time as any to kick off our regular review of the Stars' roster. We'll ask who's up, who's down, and who's skating somewhere in the murky in-between. Keep in mind our focus is on the week that was (or 6 games in this special case) rather than a cumulative, season-long evaluation.
[Ed. Note: all stats referenced are through Tuesday, October 21st, when the Dallas Stars took on the Vancouver Canucks]
Tyler Seguin (6 GP / 5G / 5A) - Quiet against Chicago, rancid against Nashville, lights out ever since. Can we all, please, just relax a little bit? Seguin is 100% goal monster.
Kari Lehtonen (5 GP / 3 W / .913 SV%) - The big Finn has yet to lose in regulation, which is excellent news. There's also the show he put on against the Canucks (43 saves). In fact, if we throw out the Philadelphia game, his save percentage jumps all the way to .934.
Jason Spezza (6 GP / 1 G / 7 A) - Did you know Dallas is converting almost a fourth of their power play opportunities (23.81%) through 6 games? Spezza knows. Still, it'd be nice to see some production outside the top line.
Jamie Benn (6 GP / 4 G / 4 A) - Goal, faceoff win, drawn penalty, faceoff win, goal, game over. The only blemish on his season, so far, is that Seguin got the rubber ducky trick shot. Fun fact, according to Hockey Reference's excellent Similarity Score metric, the 5 players who most resemble his first four years in the league are: Wally Hergesheimer, Jaromir Jagr, Anze Kopitar, Martin Havlat, and Mike Gartner. Not bad company.
Jordie Benn (6 GP / 49.7% Corsi / 52.7% Fenwick) - The elder Benn is currently averaging 22:22 minutes of positive (or even) possession a night. If you prefer your metrics more conventional, he's a +4 with 18 blocks and 7 hits. Tidy.
Trevor Daley (6 GP / 3 G / 3 A) - Kind of a fun player all of a sudden, isn't he? The offensive production is wonderful, but what I really love is that Daley has been charged with a single giveaway this season. Daley was victimized a bit against Philadelphia, can he push past it?
Vernon Fiddler (6 GP / 52% FOW) - One of two Dallas centers better than 50% on the dot (Spezza is the other). Fiddler remains an energetic, aggressive part of Dallas' checking lineup.
Ryan Garbutt (6 GP / 1 G / 4 PIM) - A big part of the win in Chicago, a big part of the collapse in Nashville. Overall, Garbutt has been restrained, but still highly effective. This is the guy Dallas hoped they'd see this season... so far.
Antoine Roussel (6 GP / 2 G / 16 PIM) - Another major culprit in the Nashville collapse. When Roussel is focused - the Chicago game - he's a force to be reckoned with, but we already knew that. The next step is improving the way he handles frustration.
Erik Cole (5 GP / 3 G / 0 A) - If three goals in his past two games turns into some kind of hot streak, I might have to eat my words. Until then, Cole is a guy with a resoundingly negative impact (40.2% Corsi / 38.8% Fenwick) despite starting 69.7% of his shifts in the offensive zone.
Brenden Dillon (6 GP / 1 A / 11 hits) - Kind of a gut call here. Dillon is posting respectable possession numbers (51.8% Corsi / 55% Fenwick), but I'm not thrilled about the lack of goals, and single digit shots (5). I think there's another level here.
Ales Hemsky (6 GP / 0 G / 1 A) - Instead of bulking up the Stars' second line, Hemsky has been largely anonymous as far as the scoresheet is concerned. The away-from-the-puck stuff is fine, but Dallas needs a more tangible contribution from Hemsky before too much longer.
Colton Sceviour (5 GP / 0 G / 1 A) - Another guy supposedly in the mix for a depth scoring role. Another guy struggling to generate offensively, and therefore struggling to get meaningful time on the ice (12:19).
Cody Eakin (6 GP / 2 G / 1 A) - Not great possession numbers are at least partially explained by the fact Eakin is starting 65% of his shifts in the defensive zone. That's brutal. Eakin is also still getting nearly 18 minutes a night on the ice, so it's clear the coaching staff has faith. There have just been too many frantic shifts. Good defensive players resist, great ones deflate. I'd love to see a little more calm in Eakin's game.
Patrick Eaves (6 GP / 8:58 ATOI) - A few glimpses of life on the 2nd line, not much more than a crossbar to show for it.
Shawn Horcoff (6 GP / 0 G / 3 A) - Much like Eaves, Horcoff isn't playing enough (11:26 ATOI), and isn't producing much when he is. He's also getting bashed on the dot (9 FOW vs. 20 FOL).
Alex Goligoski (6 GP / 0 G / 3 A) - By a whisker. Listen, I love Goose. He's playing huge minutes (24:45 per night) and largely fighting the other team's top line to a draw, but if I'm going to call myself an advanced stats guy, I have to pay attention to the fact he's currently a negative possession player. A goal or two would help immeasurably.
Curtis McKenzie (0 GP / 0 G / 0 A) - Minimal time on the ice (11:16), minimal impact for the reigning AHL Rookie of the Year. McKenzie is still waiting for the opportunity to prove himself.
Kevin Connauton (6 GP / 54.2% Corsi / 50.5% Fenwick) - If he could get his ice time up (just 13:08 a night) I'd be more inclined to bump Connauton onto the upswing pile. Or if he had more than 6 shots on goal. Or if he had more than a single assist. Just seems like a bit player right now.
Anders Lindback (1 GP / 1 L / 3 GA) - Strong for nearly two full periods against Nashville before things fell apart. A home-and-home this weekend will give us our second look at Lindback, and likely push him one way or the other.
Patrick Nemeth (5 GP / +1) - A lacerated arm against Philadelphia has ended Nemeth's season.
Valeri Nichushkin (2 GP / 0 G) - Injuries dogged the young Russian throughout training camp, and continued to start the season. We're still waiting for Big Val to join the party.
Jamie Oleksiak (2 GP / 13:56 ATOI) - Nemeth's injury has opened the door. It's up to the Big Rig to make this opportunity count.
Sergei Gonchar (0 GP) - Gonchar has yet to see time this season after a pre-season injury.