Dallas Stars’ Mattias Janmark Has Defied Odds, Impressed In Early Going

DALLAS, TX - NOVEMBER 10: Mattias Janmark
DALLAS, TX - NOVEMBER 10: Mattias Janmark /

Dallas Stars forward Mattias Janmark has exceeded expectations this season just by skating. The inspiring young forward, though, is doing more than just that.

As unique as individual human lives are, our entire existences are prosaically ordinary. Achievements in life are narrowed down to mere highlights set by arbitrary goals – that are not always set by us or those we surround ourselves with. We somehow, someway feel pride and gratification in accomplishing a simple task, or even a long-term goal, despite no real change or implications stemming from the completion of such.

When I finish with this article, I will be delighted with its conclusion, feeling blissful and fulfilled regardless of what change – literally none – it brings. Writing this article, right now and right here, is my goal, as low of an expectation I have sadly set. I will have accomplished my task. I will be proud and those around me might feel the same.

Dallas Stars center Mattias Janmark has not yet completed his goal, which is surely the same as any player in the National Hockey League; lift the Stanley Cup up above your shoulders, occasionally lowering it for a celebratory, though unsanitary kiss. Janmark is still a ways away from that, but the 24-year-old Swede should already be proud of himself.

Janmark has slipped his #13 sweater on and skated in a regular season game 17 times this season, 17 more than the dreadful 2016-17 campaign in which the Dallas Stars failed to qualify for the Stanley Cup Playoffs. This is simply remarkable, especially since Janmark’s condition last year made many think he would never play in an NHL game again.

Dallas Stars
Dallas Stars /

Dallas Stars

Mattias Janmark was prematurely sidelined last September with osteochondritis dissecans, a genetic knee disorder during which knee cartilage grows weak and detaches due to part of the knee bone dying out. Janmark had surgery to correct the issue, or at least treat it somehow, 14 months ago.

The Dallas Stars had hockey to play, but you could tell throughout the entire 34-37-11, 79-point season that Janmark was sorely missed. Trying to continue without Janmark had an accordion effect on the whole lineup, as head coach Lindy Ruff attempted to balance his lines without Mattias – it was a catastrophe. It was like Montreal a couple of years ago: down goes Carey Price, the team inevitably falls apart, and a poor, reactionary decision from the front office ended with shipping out their best defenseman, P.K. Subban.

Dallas tried putting 12-point, three-goal Cody Eakin with offensive dynamo Jamie Benn, and before you ask, yes, it was a terrible idea. The goaltending duo of Kari Lehtonen and Antti Niemi was as bad as before, and John Klingberg was less effective alongside Esa Lindell than with Alex Goligoski. Without Janmark in the fold, everything ultimately toppled.

On Friday, November 11th, Mattias Janmark scored a shorthanded goal as his booming slap shot sailed right past New York Islanders goaltender Jaroslav Halak. The goal was purely by chance, but there’s just one guy who can capitalize off of turnovers and mistakes as well as Mattias Janmark: himself. The goal was average. The story behind it is astounding.

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Mattias Janmark- The Underrated Edmonton Oilers Forward
Mattias Janmark- The Underrated Edmonton Oilers Forward /

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  • To bounce back, Mattias Janmark was sensational in his rookie campaign. 15 goals, 14 assists, a 53.9 CF%, and usage in a variety of roles. Void of his immense production in 2016-17 were the Dallas Stars, and they paid the price, but his 2015-16 season was magnificent. It’s for this reason why the Stars gave Janmark another chance, signing him to a one-year, $700,000 contract in the offseason.

    It was a trial run of the Mattias Janmark program, in an essence. It’s like opening one of those fun size two-packs of Starbursts, hoping you get a pink one or two, but being weary of the chance to get two lemon-flavored chews. That, of course, is always awful, but no matter what, you want to try, right?

    Back to that shorty, though. It’s exquisite stuff. It’s a frozen sphere of vulcanized rubber flying at excessive speeds through the compressed, controlled air of American Airlines Center, finding nothing but the stick of an exuberant youthful forward out to prove something and the expertly-crafted nylon that makes up the back of the net. It’s almost an art form.

    Frankly, it’s aesthetically and emotionally beautiful. Surrounded by his opponents, and still having to face one, Janmark stands there alone, needing one strong blast to achieve his goal. Janmark had been there before, off the ice. There was nobody to pass to, no way to chip it in or dump it, no way to change. Janmark just needed to rip it, and I’m not sure he can shoot it faster, in that moment, then he did there.

    To look at this as a crucial goal in a game that concluded with a 5-0 goal is a tad bit absurd. To look at it as this majestic, breathtakingly fine art, played out in the visual form of a hockey game, is awe-inspiring. It’s a work to be appreciated for its raw beauty, underrated skill (that isn’t always an easy finish), and superb backstory.

    Mattias Janmark flew through drills at the Dallas Stars training camp in Cedar Park, made the team once more, and is currently fifth on a team with four potential Central Division All-Stars in John Klingberg, Tyler Seguin, Jamie Benn, and Alexander Radulov in points with nine. Janmark is playing nearly four minutes a night on both sides of the special teams equation for the Dallas Stars.

    Next: Dallas Stars Scouting Report: Julius Honka in Cedar Park

    Janmark is two pink Starbursts, a complete boss in every way. He’s that last Lego piece needed to construct the coolest Millennium Falcon possible. He has come back in the best way, and it’s clear the Stars need him going forward. Mattias Janmark will soon accomplish his ultimate goal, and that of every NHLer – but he has fulfilled so much already.