As we gear up for the upcoming 2010-2011 season, it seems like a good time to start analyzing the Stars possible roster and how good each player is and can be this upcoming season. Just like how all the sports games give the each player a rating, I am going to go through the Stars roster and give the players a rating. Today we will start off with their defense and rate each player, along with give a brief explanation with why I gave the rating and if I think the player can improve. Look for the forwards next week!
Stephane Robidas – 84: Robidas will again be relied upon this season to be the leader and workhorse of the defense. He may not be a big guy like most other top defensemen, but he makes up for it with heart and determination. He had his best offensive numbers last season with 10 goals and 31 assists. His +/- rating of -10 was not that good, but some of that has to do with that one guy can not completely carry a defense and a shaky aging goalie. He has hit about his peak, being that he is 33. But he is reliable, tough, and even if not a real vocal leader, a leader by style and example.
Trevor Daley – 80: Daley is the enigma of this defense. When he is on his game he could be a 81 or 82 and be the second best D-man on the team. But he also still has some lapses in judgment or positioning from time to time, and sometimes gets caught on the move forward when a rush comes back the other way. He is skilled with his skating and movement, and has for years shown flashes of offense at times. The missing thing is the consistency. He is still somewhat young, but entering the middle years of his career and if he can improve it will be now. He could be an 81-82 if he improves this season.
Nicklas Grossman – 81: Grossman is starting to show why the Stars look him in the draft a few years back, and why Dallas wants to keep him around as the team moves forward with this youth movement. He may not bring much offense, but Grossman can skate good for a big 6’4″ D-man. He looks to be slowly growing better at the defensive side of the game, somewhere which was already his strong suit. The Stars signed him to a new 2 year deal this last week, but if he progresses along as he is now you can expect to see young Grossman around for longer then that.
Mark Fistric – 80: Whatever cool nickname you have for him (I have heard Fishy, Fishstick, and Hammerhead), it seems most fans are starting to like young Fistric. He may not have a ton of talent like some top prospects, but he makes up for it in grit and heart. He is willing to throw his body around, block shots, and stick up for his teammates. He is starting to pick up on some of these traits possibly from Robidas, but sadly I do not see him adding much of an offensive game to his abilities. Either way his +27 last year shows that he might be ready to start taking top 4 defenseman type of minutes. And I think he still has a little room for growth.
Matt Niskanen – 79: This rating shows where I think he is at, not necessarily how he played. Because last season was horrid for young Nisky and he played like a 74 or 75 that should be back down in the minors. It was well documented in his first 2 seasons that he showed the possible potential to be a good offensive D-man with the ability to help lead a powerplay. Now that is unclear. We knew he was a little weak in his defensive game, but last season he looked out of place often and his handling of the puck was worse at times then Barch. But he has apparently been hard at work this summer and was very upset with his own play last year. So the hope is that he can get back on track, and if so he still could have potential to become what the Stars thought he could be a couple of seasons ago.
Karlis Skrastins – 77: He is old, slow, and should be close to retiring. Anything else? Okay, truthfully Skrastins is a smart player and defensively knows what to do. The problem is he is getting slow and even when he knows how to play or where exactly to be sometimes he can’t make it or is just outplayed to pucks and spots.
Philip Larsen – 77: He is the Stars top defensive prospect now, and he got a quick look at the end of the last season. His puck moving skills are highly talked about, it is just a matter of if he defensive game is good enough to be up at the NHL full-time yet. He will probably get a good look this season and could see time at both the NHL level and with the Texas Stars. If Nisky can’t recover, look for Larsen to get more time to possibly step up and become the offensive defenseman of the future this team is hoping for.
Jeff Woywitka – 75: He is big and can fill-in for spurts if needed. He is still not exactly NHL level material but he can be the 7th or 8th guy if needed when someone gets injured. He is big, can play decently, and is a cheap player right now. So he fits in and will probably be a healthy scratch often or down with the Texas Stars some.