Dallas Stars: Roope Hintz Providing Important Elements In Playoff Run

DALLAS, TX - APRIL 17: Roope Hintz #24 of the Dallas Stars celebrates a goal against the Nashville Predators in Game Four of the Western Conference First Round during the 2019 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at the American Airlines Center on April 17, 2019 in Dallas, Texas. (Photo by Glenn James/NHLI via Getty Images)
DALLAS, TX - APRIL 17: Roope Hintz #24 of the Dallas Stars celebrates a goal against the Nashville Predators in Game Four of the Western Conference First Round during the 2019 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at the American Airlines Center on April 17, 2019 in Dallas, Texas. (Photo by Glenn James/NHLI via Getty Images) /

The Dallas Stars are two wins away from their first Western Conference finals appearance in over a decade. And while that is due to a number of different factors, a good part of their success can be attributed to a certain rookie that is surging through his first Stanley Cup Playoffs appearance.

There have been a number of heroes for the Dallas Stars through their first 10 games in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. These heroes have come in all shapes and sizes and at all different positions and have helped the Stars get to within two wins of the Western Conference finals.

Through much of the first round against the Nashville Predators, Ben Bishop was the hero. He came up with some big saves and impressive performances in Games 1, 2, 5, and 6 and was a primary catalyst in the Stars’ 4-2 series win. And though his numbers have dipped slightly through the second round against St. Louis, he’s still been a driving force in keeping the Stars afloat.

Miro Heiskanen was consistently solid through the six-game set, too, contributing a goal and assist in his NHL playoff debut and setting some postseason records that only a handful of teenagers have ever achieved. And through four games against the Blues, he’s already got a goal, an assist, and a +2 rating.

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Jason Dickinson played a big role behind-the-scenes and eventually broke out in a two-goal showing in Game 5 against Nashville. The trio of Jamie Benn, Tyler Seguin, and Alexander Radulov dominated the scoresheet during the back half of the Nashville series. John Klingberg has come up with some clutch goals and plays in both series. Esa Lindell has eaten up heavy minutes and played a vital role at even strength and on special teams.

The list goes on and on. Each player has carried their own weight and contributed to a strong overall effort and product through the first part of the team’s run in the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

But there’s one particular player that deserves some recognition for his efforts so far through the postseason. So, let’s talk about Roope Hintz for a minute.

The 22-year-old rookie has surged through his playoff debut so far and is providing the Dallas Stars with a new edge. In 10 starts, he has five goals and eight points as well as a +2 rating. He’s taken 22 shots on net, which rounds his shooting percentage out to 22.7 percent through the two series.

He’s tied with Alexander Radulov for the team lead in goals and is just one point back of the team lead in points. He’s also second in power play goals and third in power play points amongst all Stars.

In other words, he’s taking his first Stanley Cup Playoffs experience by storm. It becomes even more impressive when you look back on the year he’s endured.

At training camp back in September, Hintz quickly made himself known as a real possibility of making the Dallas roster for opening night. The 2015 second-round draft pick had turned in a strong 2017-18 season with the Texas Stars that included an impressive push in the Calder Cup Playoffs and looked to be a real contender for the NHL roster. But with the Stars having to work through an overstocking of NHL-ready forwards, his final status was up in the air as the preseason came to an end.

Hintz ended up cracking the Dallas Stars roster and made his NHL debut on Oct. 4, 2018 against the Arizona Coyotes. A little over two weeks later, he was back with the Texas Stars in the AHL after posting zero points and four penalty minutes through his first five NHL starts.

"“It’s a really good feeling. I’m excited and I’m just ready to go. Just get rid of the nerves and enjoy the moment.” – Roope Hintz on opening night"

He was eventually recalled in mid-November and scored his first career goal in his first game back in the NHL. But, after another 15-day stint and nine more NHL games, Hintz was once again sent back down.

But then, the third and final recall came along in late December. Since that point, Hintz seems to be getting better with each passing game. He’s progressing just as a rookie should and is quickly blossoming into one of the best young talents remaining in the 2019 postseason pool.

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Hintz really began hitting the offensive gas pedal in early February and finished the year with seven goals and 17 points in his final 30 games. His mixture of size (6-3, 215 lb.) and speed made him a quick asset for a Dallas offense in need of goal support. He played on the top line in various stints throughout the final part of the regular season, building chemistry with Tyler Seguin and Alexander Radulov. In addition, he got a chance to play with Jamie Benn, Jason Dickinson, and Mats Zuccarello as Jim Montgomery shuffled around what has now become an effective and dominant top six.

When the Dallas Stars clinched a spot in this year’s postseason, it was uncertain how Montgomery might approach the first round in regards to his lines. Offense and consistent scoring had been the team’s weakest points throughout the 2018-19 regular season and there was going to be a certain need for that pressure if the team wanted to make a deep run. Their lineup had a fair share of players with no NHL playoff experience, including Hintz, and that created a certain sense of doubt regarding how they might measure up to the playoff-weathered Nashville Predators.

But Hintz and his fellow rookies wasted no time in digging into the action. Hintz posted six shots on goal in his playoff debut and was arguably the Stars’ best forward on the ice in Game 1 in Nashville. He broke out on the scoresheet in Game 4 when he tallied two goals and contributed to the Stars’ 5-1 beatdown of the Predators.

In his past six games, he has three goals and six points along with a +2 rating and eight shots. He’s  done all of it in an average of 15:29 on the ice per game and seems to be getting better and more dangerous with each passing contest.

His speed is electric and gives the Dallas Stars an extra jump when the top six is rolling. He’s quick on the puck, boasts a unique shot, can get creative with his passes, and can barrel in on the net while using his size to his advantage. He provides a heavy forecheck, good possession skills, and skill in the face-off dot.

He also scored his fifth goal of the postseason in Game 4 on Wednesday night and officially set the new franchise record for most playoff goals scored by a Dallas Stars rookie.

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In other words, he’s given the Stars many of the assets that every good playoff team needs. Hintz may be a rookie and may be new to NHL playoff hockey, but it isn’t slowing him down.

And with that, he’s helping push the Stars along in this thrilling playoff journey.