Dallas Stars' source of frustration

daley.jpgEvery now and then, Pro Hockey Talk will ask for insight from some of the best team bloggers out there. For this feature, we asked a simple question: “Who is your team’s most frustrating player?” Just for fun, I decided to throw my guess in the hat, too.

First, here is my guess for the Dallas Stars.

Trevor Daley – To be honest, my instinct was to say “Matt Niskanen” but I actually thought of this feature idea while watching Daley, so I’ll pick him. Every time I see Daley skate, I cannot help but think: this guy should be so much better than he is.

For the Stars, I prompted the gang from Defending Big D aka Brandon Worley’s old stomping grounds. Brad Gardner was kind enough to answer the call. Believe me, it’s still a great blog, even without our boy Brandon there. (Note: the numbers a bit outdated because I was slow to post this. Not Brad’s fault, instead mine.)

Ask most Stars fans this question and the answer you’ll get most often will probably be Marty Turco, whose struggles in the past two seasons are well documented. I’ve always found the “just blame the goaltender mantra” to be a little incomplete, and quite frankly, lazy analysis.

Can we pick a forward? The Dallas offense ranks 9th in the league. Stars fans often like to complain about Brad Richards’ $7.8 million contract as a weight that’s dragging this team down, but he’s tied for 5th in NHL scoring with 90 points as of this writing and seemingly involved in every single good thing that happens for the Stars, so it’s hard to find frustration there, despite his -11 rating on the season.

No, when I think frustration in Dallas I think defense, and I think Trevor Daley.

After the jump: why Daley is a source of frustration.


When Joe Nieuwendyk and Marc Crawford arrived in Dallas, touting a new “up-tempo” system, Trevor Daley was said to be the guy to watch. Under Dave Tippett and his staff, Daley’s skating and offensive upside were shelved while he was taught to develop a proper defensive foundation. Crawfords’ arrival signaled the unchaining of Trevor Daley and his ample speed.

79 games later, Daley has a growing reputation in Texas for scoring as many goals on his own net (6 by our count this season) than on the other teams net (also 6 now), and is on pace to have fewer points (currently 20) than in each of his last two seasons under Tipett (25 and 24), barring a barrage in the final 3 games.

A late season run in both points and the +/- department has Daley’s critics in the local media asking whether or not he’s finally ready to take it to the next level: A question they’ve asked in each of the last two off-seasons. I hope he is, but as the Stars highest paid defenseman this season, he’s not consistently getting the job done on either end of the ice and would be better suited as a third pairing kind of guy behind stronger players.

This is all to say that our real source of frustration is Tom Hicks and his empty pocket book. It’s not Trevor Daley’s fault he has a little too much weight put on him, it’s Hicks’. Until the ownership changes, the lowest paid defensive group in the Western Conference will continue to wrongly rely on lesser players to perform above their pay grade.

Honorable mention: Sean Avery. The Stars have paid him nearly $2 million this year and the guy hasn’t done a single thing for us…

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    Report: Leafs in process of acquiring Brian Boyle

    TAMPA, FL - OCTOBER 13:  Brian Boyle #11 of the Tampa Bay Lightning celebrates a goal against Detroit Red Wings during a game at the Amalie Arena on October 13, 2016 in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Mike Carlson/Getty Images)
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    The Toronto Maple Leafs are buyers.

    According to TSN’s Bob McKenzie, the Leafs are in the process of acquiring forward Brian Boyle from the Tampa Bay Lightning.

    The deal hasn’t been finalized yet, so no word on a return for the Bolts.

    Boyle, 32, is a pending unrestricted free agent. Given the Lightning are fairly well back of a playoff spot and have a number of young pending RFAs — including Tyler Johnson, Ondrej Palat, and Jonathan Drouin — it makes sense for GM Steve Yzerman to trade Boyle now, a la Ben Bishop.

    Boyle has 13 goals and nine assists in 54 games this season. He also has a ton of experience, having appeared in 100 postseason games for the Rangers and Lightning.

    The Leafs are not assured of a playoff spot quite yet. Barely clinging to the second wild-card spot in the East, they kick off a three-game California trip tomorrow in San Jose.

    Another Canadian team, the Edmonton Oilers, was also reportedly interested in Boyle.

    Trade: Wild and Coyotes pull off another, as Pulkkinen heads to Arizona

    NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 23:  Teemu Pulkkinen #17 of the Minnesota Wild skates against the New York Islanders at the Barclays Center on October 23, 2016 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. The Islanders defeated the Wild 6-3.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
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    Chuck Fletcher and John Chayka might want to consider a friends and family phone plan.

    For the second time in as many days, the Minnesota and Arizona GMs have combined on a trade, as the Coyotes have acquired winger Teemu Pulkkinen from the Wild in exchange for future considerations.

    Yesterday, in a much more significant deal, the Wild acquired forwards Ryan White and Martin Hanzal in exchange for a package of draft picks.

    Pulkkinen, 25, has been a terrific scorer at the AHL level, but hasn’t seen that form carry over to the NHL. Detroit, the team that drafted him in the fourth round of the 2010 draft, waived him just prior to the start of this season. He was claimed by the Wild, but only appeared in nine games before getting waived again, and then spent most of the year in Iowa.

    True to form, Pulkkinen played very well in the American League, and made this year’s All-Star team.

    With the Coyotes, Pulkkinen will get another look at the NHL level, as he’ll join the team in Boston rather than report to their AHL affiliate in Tucson. Chayka has tried to find similar reclamation projects this year — Peter Holland, Alex Burmistrov — and the Coyotes could end up needing bodies should they continue to sell off veterans.

    Radim Vrbata could be moved by Wednesday’s deadline, as could captain Shane Doan.

    Shattenkirk has to look out for himself

    ST LOUIS, MO - MAY 23:  Kevin Shattenkirk #22 of the St. Louis Blues skates against the San Jose Sharks in Game Five of the Western Conference Final during the 2016 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Scottrade Center on May 23, 2016 in St Louis, Missouri.  (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
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    If the St. Louis Blues can’t turn Kevin Shattenkirk into something significant, don’t expect a warm reception whenever he returns to Scottrade Center as a member of a different team.

    The 28-year-old defenseman is a pending unrestricted free agent who’s not expected to re-sign with the Blues. He may be traded prior to Wednesday’s deadline. If not, he’ll likely walk away for nothing this offseason.

    Given the above, Shattenkirk understands why many Blues fans were upset that he nixed a trade with Tampa Bay by turning down the Bolts’ contract offer.

    That being said, this is a big decision for the high-scoring d-man. He’s in line for a huge payday, and he wants to make the right call for the sake of his future.

    “It’s not trying to hold things up or hold anything back from these guys,” Shattenirk told the Post-Dispatch, “but that’s where the tough part of this decision comes, doing what’s best for yourself and what could be your only chance with this opportunity in your entire career.”

    The Blues, of course, lost two players to free agency this past summer when David Backes signed with Boston and Troy Brouwer with Calgary.

    Earlier this month, after Ken Hitchcock was fired as head coach, GM Doug Armstrong said he felt the Blues had turned into a group of “independent contractors.”

    “One of the things I’ve learned about being around St. Louis is the Cardinals,” Armstrong said. “They don’t have independent contractors. When they do, they get rid of them.”

    It’s hard now not to see a relation between that comment and Shattenkirk’s situation, given the nixing of the trade with the Lightning apparently came a couple of weeks before Armstrong made the remark.

    Trade coming? Devils healthy scratch Quincey

    NEWARK, NJ - FEBRUARY 21:  Kyle Quincey #22 of the New Jersey Devils skates during an NHL hockey game against the Ottawa Senators at Prudential Center on February 21, 2017 in Newark, New Jersey. Senators won 2-1.  (Photo by Paul Bereswill/Getty Images)
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    The writing’s on the wall for Kyle Quincey.

    Quincey, the veteran defenseman on a one-year deal in New Jersey, will be a healthy scratch for tonight’s game against Montreal.

    As is often the case for healthy scratches around the trade deadline, many are assuming this is a safety precaution and precursor to a move. You can count Quincey among those thinking it.

    “It’s not done yet, that’s kind of where we’re at right now,” said Quincey, per NorthJersey.com. “Whatever happens, it’s out of my control. I’ve been through it. It’s another day.

    “I’ve had a great year with these guys. It’s not over yet but, if it is, I’m very thankful for the opportunity with the boys here.”

    Quincey, 31, carries a modest $1.25 million cap hit — that comes off the books this summer — and has been good value for the Devils this year. He’s scored four goals and 12 points through 53 contests, averaging 18:38 TOI per night, and is an ideal defensive depth addition for playoff-bound clubs.

    What’s more, Quincey’s appeared in 54 career postseason contests.

    Among the teams rumored to be looking at defensive help? Edmonton, and it’s worth noting that head coach Todd McLellan was an assistant in Detroit when Quincey broke in during the 2005-06 campaign, and the pair spent three seasons together.

    What’s more, Oilers GM Peter Chiarelli has a history from his Boston days of adding depth d-men at the deadline — Andrej Meszaros in ’14, Wade Redden in ’13, Greg Zanon/Mike Mottau in ’12 and Tomas Kaberle in ’11 — and McLellan did say the club could use another body on the blueline.

    Don’t forget Chiarelli has history with Devils GM Ray Shero, as the two pulled off the Taylor Hall-for-Adam Larsson trade last summer.