Ladies and Gentlemen…the Dallas Stars
Any true fan of hockey who values speed and skill above the dreaded trap style or other defensive schemes that choke the life out of hockey should have been watching the Dallas Stars last two games against Chicago and Washington.
The Stars faced the prospect of of playing back to back against the two teams most pundits are picking as Stanley Cup finalists and….they beat them both.
After a brief unproductive lull, Tyler Seguin and Jamie Benn are both firing on all cylinders again. Seguin has 3 goals and 7 points in his last 5 games while Benn has 1 goal and 5 points.
I expect Jim Nill will make a move for another veteran D before the deadline and the Stars should be primed for a long playoff run.
Speaking of Tyler Seguin, he became one of only 3 players to hit the 30 goal plateau last night.
Alex Ovechkin (35) and Patrick Kane (33) might be tough to catch Especially since Seguin suffered a cut late in the game and his prognosis is uncertain.
The others who should soon join the 30’s club:
Jamie Benn 29
Marchand 27 (seriously?)
Notably absent from the list are Steven Stamkos, John Tavares and Corey Perry and….hey…whatever happen to the 40 goal season that Oiler fans were predicting for Taylor Hall? (18…36th in the league)
My regular readers may recall that I predicted Hall would fall out of the top 10 in scoring as soon as Leon Draisaitl’s shooting percentage normalized from above 33% in the early part of the season.
Well, Draisaitl is now shooting 15.7% and dropping like a stone.
That has had the expected effect on Hall’s point totals but I didn’t think he would fall off the map completely which he has done in his last 10GP (o-5-5)
Despite a 2 goal performance against Florida on January 18th, Hall has scored only 3 goals in his last 20GP.
Yikes that’s bad.
It’s quite likely that Hall drops out of the top 20 point producers since some very talented players named Kopitar, Malkin, Ovechkin, Tarasenko, Thornton, Burns, Kucherov, Bergeron and O’Reilly are hot on his heels and most have multiple games in hand.
The continuing malaise of the Vancouver Canucks on home ice has pretty much sealed their fate outside of a playoff spot which means they should be pretty active as sellers at the trade deadline.
Their chief asset, should he be willing to waive his NTC, is Dan Hamhuis.
Washington has been a rumoured destination but I think Dallas is a more logical choice since they covet a solid veteran and have a wealth of young D (too many) that they could offer up for Hamhuis:
Any one of those coming back in a Hamhuis trade would provide a much needed to boost to Vancouver’s D prospect depth and would join Chris Tanev and the promising Ben Hutton, Alex Biega and Andrey Pedan as a young future on the Canucks’ blue.
The Canucks will also try and peddle Radim Vrbata, Alex Burrows and Brandon Prust at the deadline but I don’t think the return on any of them will knock your socks off.