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.
Since joining the Stars last year, Vernon Fiddler has become a fan-favorite, and for more than flashing a grin that’s missing a few pearly whites. His physicality, combined with his remarkable puck handling skills has made him an all-around asset for the still-struggling Stars.
Fiddler made his NHL debut 10 years ago, setting foot on the ice in Nashville. In his first year, he scored four goals, recorded two assists and spent 14 minutes in the penalty box. For the next three years, Fiddler spent his seasons between Nashville and Milwaukee, where he played almost 200 games with the Admirals. He scored almost 40 goals and spent 230 minutes in the sin bin. In his last three years with the Predators, Fiddler scored and tied his NHL-best in goals scored at 11. In 2009, he headed for Phoenix, where he set his NHL-high in assists with 22.
Last year, in his first season as a Dallas Star, Fiddler set two more career firsts; he skated in every game and set a personal record in shots on goal with 123. He also spent 60 minutes in the penalty box.
And Fiddler appeared to be on a roll in the post-lockout season this year, scoring four goals and recording 13 assists in just 46 games, matching his final assist count in last year’s 82-game season. He was giving his time in the box a run for its money also, sitting out for 48 total minutes. He was also one of the few members of the Stars roster to finish the season on the plus side of the plus/minus with a positive three.
Fiddler’s performance throughout the season, while not the best in his career, reinforced everything Stars fans have come to love from the 33-year-old Canadian; he can put the puck on net, he can feed the team’s leading goal scorers, and most of all, he can trade blows. In recognition of his accomplishments through the short season, I give Vernon Fiddler a B+ for the 2012-2013 season.
Goal Scoring: B
On-ice presence and performance: A