Texas on Top: A Dallas Stars Team Statistical Breakdown and Reflection (Part 4 of 6)

Welcome to the fourth post in a six-part series that evaluates the Dallas Stars’ periodic statistical performances (every 13-15 games) in search of themes, strengths, weaknesses, and more.
Dallas Stars v New York Islanders
Dallas Stars v New York Islanders / Bruce Bennett/GettyImages

The Dallas Stars are legit. The team went 10-3-2 (22 of 30 points) from Jan. 11 through Feb. 17 (15 games). The Stars have been a powerhouse offense and have overcome defensive issues by filling opponents' nets with pucks. It seems simple enough, but let's hope they bolster their D core by the time the trade deadline arrives for extra security.

Miro Heiskanen is back to playing full-time, and alongside blossoming youngster Thomas Harley, creating one of the top D pairings in the entire NHL. Jake Oettinger has gone on a hot streak post-all-star break, with a 9-2-1 record and a 0.909 SV%, second only to Thatcher Demko since January 11th. This article will outline the Dallas Stars' statistical results from all games from Friday, January 12th vs. Nashville through Saturday, February 17th vs. Edmonton (15 GP).

Overall Stats

The Dallas Stars sit 1st in the Central Division with a 34-14-7 record (75 points), which is five points ahead of Colorado (70) and six ahead of Winnipeg (69). Dallas also ranks 2nd in the Western Conference, only behind the Vancouver Canucks, and 4th in the entire NHL. This is arguably the best version of Dallas Stars hockey this season. I mentioned in the previous installment that I worried about getting stuck in the 2nd or 3rd seed in the Central Division, which would force a first-round playoff matchup against Colorado or Winnipeg.

At this point, the Stars are trending positively towards winning the Central Division, entertaining the likes of St. Louis, Nashville, or Calgary for their playoff matchup should they keep this spot. This favorable playoff matchup should be motivation for Dallas, whose Stanley Cup aspirations could suffer in future rounds even if they fight and win against a brutal opponent like Colorado in round one.

Over the last month, Dallas has achieved the following results (15 GP):

  • 10-3-2, 22 points (T-2nd NHL)
  • .733 Points Percentage (T-3rd NHL)
  • 59 Goals For (1st NHL)
  • 45 Goals Against (T-22nd NHL)
  • 23.9% PowerPlay (12th NHL)
  • 71.4% Penalty Kill (T-27th NHL)

For the second installment in a row, the Stars lead the league in goals over the past month of games. Despite conceding 3.00 goals per game during this 15-game stretch, it is clear that the offense is ready to bail out the defense. Let's look at the underlying numbers that may provide further context to these stats.

Advanced Stats: Matt Duchene, Lucky Sniper?

This may come as a surprise, but based on Matt Duchene’s shot generation numbers, his season shouldn’t be going as well as it’s currently going. On the base stats front, as of February 17th, Matt Duchene is tied for the team lead of 55 points with Jason Robertson, including 22 goals, which is second to Roope Hintz for the team lead. He has contributed to Mason Marchment and Tyler Seguin’s great offensive seasons. However, I am curious if their time of success may run out soon because of Matt Duchene’s advanced stats. 

According to NaturalStatTrick, when Matt Duchene is on the ice, the Stars only control 48% of all shot attempts, 47.8% of all unblocked shot attempts, and 50.7% of all Expected Goals. Out of 717 skaters to play 100 5v5 minutes this season, Duchene is ranked 448th, 471st, and 303rd in those shot-related stats respectively. This is nowhere close to the elite offensive profile that I expected out of Matt Duchene. How is he still succeeding? Three key metrics can explain his success:

  • 5v5 On-Ice Goals For = 47 (T-25th in NHL)
  • 5v5 On-Ice Goals For % = 63.5% (49th in NHL)
  • PDO = 1.069 (9th in NHL)

The quantity of 5v5 Goals that Matt Duchene has been on the ice for is supernatural, as well as the lack of 5v5 Goals Against, represented by the elite 63.5% 5v5 On-Ice Goals For %. Duchene's linemates Mason Marchment and Tyler Seguin also boast similar elite numbers in these specific categories. Furthermore, Duchene’s individual PDO is 1.069, meaning that there is a 6.9% Dallas Stars shooting + save percentage buff when he’s on the ice compared to an even 1.000 (e.g. 10% = 0.10 shooting which means .900 save percentage which means 1.000 PDO, technically). Very few NHLers keep a PDO as high as Duchene's current 1.069 because of 'regression to the mean', where things typically even out naturally over the course of a season up or down to a player’s true value despite early season good or bad luck. 

Does this mean that Duchene will get worse? Not necessarily. His on-ice stats imply that he and his linemates are great shooters, with great fortune, and mysterious defensive zone success where Duchene and company mostly concede shot attempts and rarely give up goals against. I believe that Marchment-Duchene-Seguin will continue to provide high-tier offense for the Stars, and while I am concerned about their long-term defensive impacts based on these metrics, it does not worry me enough to warrant any line changes and these negative advanced stats aren’t reflective of the actual positive impact that Duchene and his linemates provide, for the meantime.

We shall see in the next installment of this series if the narrative changes and these poor shot metrics catch up to the Duchene line and expose their defensive issues.

Advanced Stats: Moneypuck.com

Thomas Harley is also becoming a sniper for the Dallas Stars. According to Moneypuck.com, Harley has 8.2 Goals Above Expected, meaning that he has generated 4.8 Expected Goals based on the quality of his shots, yet he has 13 real goals. This has him ranked 10th in the entire NHL, among the likes of Nathan MacKinnon and Leon Draisaitl (minimum 100 minutes played). This could imply that Harley is a talented shooter, lucky, or both. Either way, it seems that the Stars are defying the odds, with the advanced stats suggesting that worse offensive circumstances should be happening.


I am pleasantly surprised regarding the Dallas Stars’ recent results. This team has high-end talent, depth, and has received better goaltending as of late. Blessed with talented shooters, and a sprinkle of puck luck, the Stars are putting on an offensive showcase and racking up 9 goals on teams like the Nashville Predators, a team that the Stars may encounter in the playoffs. The next month of stability and hopefully healthy hockey should tell us a lot about the Stars ‘playoff readiness’. It’s an exciting time to be a Dallas Stars fan.

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