Now is not the time to panic in Dallas. While this shortened 56-game NHL season is nearing thirty percent complete for a handful of teams, the Dallas Stars are approaching a more manageable number of twenty-percent tonight versus Carolina.
We have talked here at Blackout Dallas a number of times over recent weeks about the need for NHL clubs to cease line experimentation, limit player transactions and prioritize chemistry as quickly as possible to best maximize point gathering.
For Dallas, this was a formidable task coming in. It has proved to be that thus far.
Void of exhibition games for trial and error due to COVID, the Dallas Stars coaching staff entered this season staring down a stable of youngsters in need of ice time, knowing they had limited time to do so. While their fervent injury report likely aided this effort, head coach Rick Bowness wasted no time in getting down to business.
Heck, we saw Jason Robertson (21-years-old) and Ty Dellandrea (20-years-old) on the ice together as early as game three this season. I applaud them for this.
Working through ten unique offensive lineups in ten contests, Dallas used the hand it was dealt to identify strengths and weaknesses; building chemistry in the early season. While the scoreboard has paid the price in the interim, you just need to look away from the win/loss column long enough to see what is in front of this squad moving forward.
Dallas marched out of the gate in their first four contests to a perfect record on the heels of unsustainable power-play success (10/18, 55.5%). Alongside capturing emotion from their Western Conference banner celebration and embracing their long awaited return to American Airlines Arena. These are all implausible, unenduring factors of a full-hockey season.
This current on ice product is the best Dallas has offered it’s opponents all season.
|First 4 (4-0-0)||Last 4 (1-1-2)|
Not on board? Need to be more impressed by this data set?
This includes one game of forward Joel Kiviranta and two games of Alexander Radulov. It does include four games of defender Mark Pysyk, three games of rookie rear-end scoring winger Jason Robertson and two games of forwards Nick Caamano and Ty Dellandrea.
It is easy to look at the standings or recent game results and label the Dallas Stars a ‘bubble team’; as so many have. Referring to their success in Edmonton last season. However, the product that Dallas has brought to the ice thus far this season has been the organization at large; a non-concentrated group of players night in, night out.
It is the belief of Blackout Dallas that upon the return of Alexander Radulov (lower body) and Andrej Sekera (COVID protocol), likely during this home stand, that Dallas will begin casting daily lines. Less musical chairs, more chemistry.
Now, the real outstanding question. Will these cemented lines, structured and targeted help Dallas continue to play strong hockey AND score goals; or just the former?
It helps me if I imagine the above data set with four games of Alexander Radulov and Joel Kiviranta.
Dallas is about to come out of their shell. Stay the course, put your faith in the veterans and know that the youngsters are playing their best version of hockey this season. Goals to follow.