With the regular season over, it’s time for players around the league to be evaluated for their effectiveness and their value to a team. We’ll be doing the same thing throughout the month of May, and we’d love to hear your opinions on our grading.
We’ll travel through the team in numerical order this year and we’ll hit every individual that was on the roster as of Saturday April 27; the official end of the Stars season.
As of April 3, Ray Whitney became the oldest team member on the Dallas Stars roster. The 41-year-old Canadian held second in the age contest until Jaromir Jagr, three months his senior, headed to Boston.
Though his age haunted many fans, Whitney’s experience and talent put him at the top of the list of Dallas’ goal and point-scorers. Whitney also sat on the positive side of the plus/minus with a plus one, and closed out the season in points tied with Loui Eriksson at 29, just four points behind team-leading Jamie Benn. In his 32 games with the Stars this season, Whitney posted 11 goals and 28 assists, and landed the game-winner against Los Angeles April 9.
Whitney’s leadership ability also prompted the addition of an “A” to his jersey, which he wore alongside Jamie Benn, Stephane Robidas and Eriksson. But the veteran certainly knew how to balance hard work and fun, and admitted to snatching up pucks during TV breaks and timeouts, and tossing them to the fans, leaving slightly dumbfounded referees in his wake upon their return to the faceoff circle.
Despite being a 40-year-old in what is increasingly becoming a 20-year-old’s game, Whitney never shied from a hit, and took some scary ones throughout the season, returning to his feet shaken but never silenced; until suffering a broken foot in February. Even then, the former Stanley Cup champion only missed 16 games. Though the stint equaled exactly a third of the post-lockout season, Whitney spent just slightly more than five weeks off the ice; a feat many younger players couldn’t, and haven’t, matched.
For his dedication to the sport, his ability to entertain and lead, and the strength and experience he brought to the 2012-2013 Dallas Stars, I give Ray Whitney straight A’s.
Goal scoring: A
On-ice presence and performance: A