Dallas Stars Need More From Some Seasoned Veteran Forwards

DALLAS, TX - DECEMBER 19: Jason Spezza
DALLAS, TX - DECEMBER 19: Jason Spezza /

The Dallas Stars have a plethora of high-quality players within their organization. Their forwards are among them, but some need to step it up.

In the competitive Western Conference, the Dallas Stars need the most from everyone in their line-up if they hope to be successful. Unfortunately, a few players need to pick it up if the Stars are really going to make a run at one of the top three spots in the Central Division.

Jamie Benn

First and foremost is the captain, Jamie Benn. As the notable leader in the room, it’s difficult to not call him out when he is struggling.

While he’s accumulated 35 points in 39 games this season, his overall game is lacking. Benn has been more prone to turnovers and poor decisions in the defensive and neutral zones this season than should be accepted. He has taken costly penalties at terrible times, which has only hurt Dallas’ ability to succeed.

Dallas Stars
Dallas Stars /

Dallas Stars

At the very least, No. 14 has swung the momentum against the Stars and made obstacles for them out of nothing.

Luckily, his offensive game has served as a buffer for these mistakes. He heads into tonight’s game with a four-game point streak. Hopefully that will continue and his defensive game will pick up.

Mattias Janmark

Playing in just his second NHL season, Mattias Janmark has a lot to learn. He’s also gained a lot in his 112 games, though. While it’s unfair to assume No. 13 would be perfection on the ice at this level with such little experience, his game could improve.

With numerous chances on what seems like a nightly basis, it’s difficult to see Janmark fail to score. Just last game he had the game on his stick, and he couldn’t score.

That, of course, happens to everyone. It’s just disappointing to see a player with so much potential who worked so hard to earn a spot on the roster experience obstacles that really shouldn’t be there. Yes, it’s easier to talk about hockey than to play, but when you’re a professional NHL forward it should be expected that you’ll score.

Janmark’s 18 points in 39 games and plus-minus of minus-six speak for themselves. He’s not doing terribly, but the Stars could use more from the young forward.

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Jason Spezza

Another veteran who has struggled under Hitchcock’s coaching is Jason Spezza. His mere 15 points in 38 games is the fewest of these three, despite his vastly greater experience.

Spezza is not a defensive forward. He’s reiterated that fact time and time again this season. Anyone who has watched even a few Dallas Stars games can probably remember a time when No. 90 failed to get the puck out of his zone that should’ve easily crossed the blue line.

The worst part, though, is that his defensive struggles and the constant line changes have almost obliterated his offensive game. Spezza is a skilled playmaker. He can dodge defensemen and toe drag with the best of them, but his inability to play well in his zone has caused a chain reaction in the offensive zone.

No. 90 can’t be silenced for the rest of this season. It simply won’t work for the Stars. He has to find a way to overcome the defensive woes he’s created and become a solid player in all three zones. Yes, he’s trying, but the Stars need more.

DISCLAIMER: this article was written just before all three of these players tallied points in last night’s game against St. Louis. Maybe they somehow got the memo. Either way, good for these guys for chipping in and helping Dallas come away with the W.

Next: Standings Have No Mercy On Dallas Stars

Moving Forward

Dallas isn’t in a bad spot as they approach the mid-season mark. They’re a competitive team with a lot going for them. However, it would be nice to see these forwards play more completely and contribute in an even bigger way than they have the opening 39 games this season.