The Dallas Stars are a quarter of the way through the season, and so far, Devin Shore has been playing well despite an injury.
Shore had the worst plus/minus on the team by far, at a -30 through 82 games played. The next lowest on the team was Martin Hanzal at -14.
While plus/minus has a lot of issues as a stat, that low of a number certainly says something about a player, especially when it’s so much lower than the rest of the team.
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Part of the problem last year was Shore’s low offensive numbers, with 11 goals and 32 points. Those numbers wouldn’t be awful from a strong defensive forward whose job it was to shut down the other line, but that’s not the case with Shore.
Of course, Shore was far from the only one whose numbers on the scoreboard left something to be desired. In fact, he was one of only seven players to have double-digit goals, and to have more than 30 points.
This is Shore’s third full season in the league, and his season in 2016-17 was better than his 2017-18 campaign. His possession numbers were better, but his offensive totals looked pretty much the same with 13 goals and 33 points.
However, this year, Shore has been playing much better. He’s on pace for a 20-goal, 50-point season, which would be a huge step forward for him. He’s also been part of the push to get the depth scoring back on track for the Stars, which has been a problem for the team both this season and last.
Unfortunately, Shore’s improvement came while players like Mattias Janmark are having down seasons. If the Stars could get all of their depth scoring going at the same time, they’d have a great shot at the playoffs, even with all the injuries. That said, at least guys like Jason Spezza are also looking good again this year, so it’s been a net gain so far.
At least Shore’s getting back on track and making his new contract extension look decent now. He signed a two-year deal worth $2.3M per year this past July, which was a bit steep for someone coming off of a season with a -30 plus/minus. However, it was a decent bridge deal for him to show he could improve and earn a bigger contract in 2020, and so far, he’s been doing that.
There’s still 58 games to go for him to keep up his current pace, or to improve even more, but at least he’s had a good start so far.