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 (Note: the numbers a bit outdated because I was slow to post this.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: Ducks’ Stewart suffered broken jaw in fight (Video)

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    Per the Columbus Dispatch, Anaheim winger Chris Stewart reportedly suffered a broken jaw in his fight on Thursday night with Jackets d-man Dalton Prout.

    Stewart, who has eight goals and 18 points in 47 games this year, left the game following the scrap and didn’t return from the third period. Head coach Bruce Boudreau didn’t provide any update on the veteran’s condition following the contest.

    Assuming Stewart misses time with the injury, it would be a blow to the Anaheim lineup. Though he averages just 10:40 TOI per game, Stewart is a physical presence and has played pretty well of late, with three points in his last five games.

     

    With Price possibly done for the season, Scrivens has Dubnyk-like opportunity

    Montreal Canadiens' Devante Smith-Pelly , center,and Brendan Gallagher, left, celebrate their victory over the Carolina Hurricanes with goalie Ben Scrivens at an NHL hockey game Sunday, Feb. 7, 2016, in Montreal. (Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press via AP) MANDATORY CREDIT
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    Last year, it was Devan Dubnyk who saved the Wild and salvaged his career.

    This year, could Ben Scrivens do the same for the Montreal Canadiens, and himself?

    Admittedly, the odds are against him. But with Carey Price possibly done for the season, there’s at least the potential.

    Scrivens, you’ll recall, was acquired from Edmonton in late December. While his first four starts did not go particularly well, he’s been downright solid lately. On Tuesday, he won his third straight, stopping 37 of 39 shots in a 4-2 win over Tampa Bay. His save percentage in those three wins was .959.

    The 29-year-old will make a fourth straight start tonight in Buffalo, getting the nod over Mike Condon, whose save percentage has fallen to a lowly .905 for the season.

    Like Dubnyk prior to joining the Wild, Scrivens has had success as an NHL goalie. In 2013-14, he boasted a .931 save percentage in 19 games for the Kings, before he was traded to Edmonton (right after the Oilers had traded Dubnyk, oddly enough) and things started to fall apart.

    Also like Dubnyk, Scrivens had to spend some time in the minors before he got another shot with an NHL team.

    Look, we’re not saying this is definitely going to happen. Scrivens has only had three good games, and the Habs’ issues since Price went down have extended beyond goaltending.

    All we’re saying is that there’s the potential.

    Tonight’s game is the first of three on the road for the Canadiens. They play Monday in Arizona and Wednesday in Colorado, before returning home to face Philadelphia next Friday.

    Avs waive veteran d-man Guenin, again

    at Pepsi Center on October 21, 2015 in Denver, Colorado.
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    Less than a month after exposing Nate Guenin to waivers, the Avs are at it again.

    On Friday, Colorado placed the veteran defenseman on the wire (per TVA), just hours after he was scratched from a 4-3 win over Ottawa on Thursday night.

    Guenin, 33, has only appeared in 29 games for the Avs this year, going pointless while averaging just over 13 minutes per night. It’s a far cry from the ’14-15 campaign, in which he posted career highs in games played (76), assists (13) and points (15).

    Guenin appears to have been passed on the depth chart by Andrew Bodnarchuk and Chris Bigras, both of whom played against the Sens (another defenseman, Zach Redmond, was a healthy scratch along with Guenin).

    Per General Fanager, today’s move might be more about shedding a contract than anything else:

    Preds entering key (and tough) stretch before trade deadline

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    Since an 11-3-3 start that saw them pile up 25 points in their first 17 games, the Nashville Predators have played 37 more times and gained just 33 points.

    For comparison’s sake, in all 30 teams’ last 37 games, only the Montreal Canadiens (in the midst of a shocking collapse) and the Buffalo Sabres (just not very good) have gained fewer than 33 points.

    So yeah, it’s been a struggle. The goaltending and defensive play have been sub-par. Offensively, it hasn’t been very good either.

    The good news for the Preds is that they’re still in the playoff race. In fact, thanks in large part to the imploding Wild, Nashville currently occupies the final wild-card spot in the West.

    With just nine games remaining before the Feb. 29 trade deadline, the players know they’re entering a key stretch.

    “I’m sure David Poile and the management have a few different plans,” defenseman Barret Jackman told The Tennessean, “but our thoughts in this room are picking up points and being a playoff contender… and making this team better and making a run for the Stanley Cup.”

    By the way, here are those next nine games…

    preds

    Pretty tough, right? Only Montreal and Toronto aren’t in a playoff spot.

    Suffice to say, it would be a huge disappointment if the Preds ended up missing the postseason — especially after acquiring Ryan Johansen, the number-one center everyone kept saying they needed.

    Johansen has actually been very good for them; he has 16 points in 14 games.

    It’s the team as a whole that needs to pick it up, and soon.

    Related: Preds believe Vesey could ‘come in and play right away’