Now that we’re at the 10% point of the season we’ve got a solid, savory taste of what Pete DeBoer is cooking up here in Dallas. With the regime change, we’re seeing an uptick in production on the offensive end and the goal total per game feels like it’s doubled overnight. There are new items on the menu, with a dash of Marchment and a hint of Dellandrea, but there’s also a revival among the mainstays.
With 78% of this year’s points coming from members of last year’s team, the Stars’ core has been activated to create the depth scoring that left much to be desired in years past. Here we’ll take a look at the players benefitting the most from Pete DeBoer’s systematic changes; thus, providing the secret sauce to this brand-new dish.
3 Players Impacted by DeBoer System Changes: Appetizer, Joel Kiviranta
Now allowed to play with speed, Joel Kiviranta’s quickness is being properly valued by the style of play DeBoer is allowing him to employ. After scoring his second goal of the season the Senators last Monday, we all raced to Twitter to quip that he had doubled his goal total from the previous season.
As much fun as it is to be sarcastically optimistic, I imagine it’s even more fun to play your favorite game the way that you want to play. Objectively Kivi is a relatively smaller NHL player at 5’10” and 170 lbs., limiting his capabilities in a primarily dump-and-chase mindset that Bowness bestowed on him and his linemates in the past. Muscling the puck away from larger opposition puts Kivi behind the 8-ball nine times out of ten.
To the point of Kivi’s fellow Finn Roope Hintz, “we don’t just dump it in every time” and the players are now able to find space and play with speed. This mindset is what allowed Kiviranta to emerge during the bubble run with his hat trick against Colorado. The Avs forced us into a track meet and Kiviranta’s game flourished to the tune of 3 well-timed scores, propelling the boys in victory green to the Western Conference finals.
After drying up in the year since then, Kivi’s early returns under DeBoer should inspire hopeful optimism for Stars fans. He’s played well enough to earn top 6 minutes alongside Seguin and Marchment and will ideally continue to provide solid depth on the right at a position of need.
To put Kivi’s start into perspective, he’s on pace for close to 30 goals. The goals he’s netted occur naturally and in the middle of the ice. His 3rd goal of the season came from pure effort and a wicked backhand after a determined forecheck. Aside from the pure will, Kivi looks much better when he doesn’t have to dig everything out of the corner in order to facilitate offensive output. If DeBoer can maintain this system that’s tailored to the talents of the roster, we’ll continue to see depth players having offensive revivals as the season progresses while Joel Kiviranta currently serves as the poster child for this concept.