The Trevor Daley Question: Can The Situation Be Salvaged for the Dallas Stars?

What should the Stars do about Daley?

Given what we've seen over the past few days, if the Dallas Stars hang on to Trevor Daley, they need to get him skating the puck more and figure out a way for him to minimize how often prime chances are generated with him on the ice. This likely means limiting his even strength ice time and maximizing his offensive zone starts. Players who are handled this way are usually gangbusters on special teams to justify all of the sheltering being done at even strength.

Daley was fourth among the five qualifying Stars defensemen in Corsi% on the powerplay, but first among them in the percentage of high quality scoring chances generated. The "shoot the puck crowd" should be firmly entrenched against Daley. The emergence of John Klingberg and presence of Alex Goligoski makes you wonder how important his powerplay ability is to this roster.

The Stars used Daley on the top penalty killing unit with Goligoski. Jason Demers and Jordie Benn were the second pair. The other three barely played. This is how the seven regular defensemen fared in five different "against" statistics.

Demers is unequivocally the Stars best regular penalty killer. He and Benn formed a high quality pairing at even strength, and he was arguably their second best regular penalty killer, though he wasn't much better than Daley. Once again, not having Patrik Nemeth was crippling. He was far and away the Stars top penalty killer in limited minutes which fits with his reputation as a defensive stalwart. Demers and Nemeth should likely anchor the two penalty killing units. There's an argument to be made for using Daley as the fourth penalty killer with Nemeth, but he shouldn't figure in as a key member of the penalty killer.

Now we come to the dilemma. The Stars have areas they can fix to get Daley back on the right track. Data suggests that they need to limit his even strength minutes and shelter him away from the net while utilizing him on the second powerplay unit and maybe on the second penalty killing unit.


I started out on this attempting to answer what the Stars can do to "fix" the Daley situation only to come to the conclusion that the fix, in my opinion, is obvious: It's time to move on. Assuming his style of play stays relatively consistent, the fixes the Stars need to put in place require them to do a lot to maximize the value they get out of Daley when they have other options.

To be successful with the way he was playing, Daley needs to be with a team that can fit something similar to those parameters. And even if the Stars want to make it work with Daley, they don't have a coach that likes to shelter veteran players. Asking Ruff to shelter Daley is unlikely to get anywhere at this stage of his coaching career.

That all assumes that the decision making, zone exits, and defensive coverage can be fixed. It also assumes a healthy hip was part of the problem with Daley not skating as much as the season wore on. It's a lot to try to fix when the easier path would be to just move on. They have in house options that can competently fill the hole opened by moving Daley. If they signed someone like Cody Franson even better, but it isn't even necessary.

The decision wouldn't be easy. He's been in Dallas for a long time. A lot of good memories have been made here with Daley. It seems like it could be best for everyone if he got a fresh start with a new team.