Stars Shutout In Preseason Opener to Blues

A team with a system that’s been in place for a long time outscored one trying to implement a system they started working on four days ago.

The Dallas Stars played their first real-world hockey under coach Pete DeBoer. Against the St. Louis Blues, a team that has been playing their system for years, the Stars — on just day four of their system implementation — looked outmatched. The Blues coasted to an easy 4-0 win.

There were some good things to take from the game, and some things to work on. Let’s dive in.

  • Matej Blumel and Marian Studenic combined to have one of the more dangerous looking lines among the forwards. Blumel had some good looks at the net, and Studenic was an absolute puck hound. Both are skillsets that the Stars could use on the big club’s roster.
  • Wyatt Johnston and Logan Stankoven showcased some incredible playmaking abilities. If the Stars are looking for the “it factor” to unlock some offense, it could just be in the form of one of those two players. It wasn’t all rainbows for them, though. Johnston’s turnover in his own zone directly led to the fourth goal against.
  • Relatively quiet night for the most part for the Jacob Peterson-Roope Hintz-Joe Pavelski trio. Midway through the third period, none of those forwards had recorded an official shot on goal.
  • Every time I watch Thomas Harley play in the NHL, I’m left wanting to see something more. With competition for playing time at this level facing some competition after that Nils Lundkvist trade, I wanted to see him absolutely go out and make that decision incredibly difficult on the coaching staff. I’m not sure he’s done it yet.
  • I thought Nils Lundkvist looked like an every day skater for Dallas in this one. He’s smooth, reads the play relatively well, and he looked at home running a power play on the back end.
  • The turnovers, my goodness, the turnovers. You could tell Dallas hasn’t acclimated to what DeBoer wants them to do yet. There were blind passes to players not in position and egregious turnovers in the offensive zone. Not enough of the puck battles were won by Dallas throughout the ice.
  • You could start to see how they want to defend their own zone. There was a lot of bodies in the high-danger part of the ice. The problem with that is when two players go to the same spot, blowing their coverage, and create too much traffic in front of their own goaltender to be effective defensive structure.
  • Alternatively, on offense, there were glimpses of the offensive tenacity and puck possession DeBoer’s system prefers. However, it was very unrefined and was easily broken apart by the stout forecheck of the Blues.
  • Dallas actually outshot the Blues 32-28, if you can believe it.
  • Anton Khudobin looked ok in his first game action since hip surgery back in March. Jake Oettinger was hung out to dry on one of his goals against, but was relatively in good form for most of the 40 minutes he played in the game.
  • The more time that passes without a goal from the Stars, the more Jason Robertson’s contract negotiation leverage goes up./