The 2016-17 National Hockey League season has been rough for the Dallas Stars. Between inconsistency in every level of their play, injuries, and overall bad luck, the Stars have found themselves hoping for this season to finish as fast as possible and to be able to get to work this off-season.
In a brief summary, the Stars offense had trouble scoring consistently night in and night out, and often found themselves only scoring a goal a game. Their defense was giving up horrendous turnovers and playing bad in front of their own net, and when it came to goaltending, perhaps the brightest spot out of all three, the Stars still managed to have enough bad nights in between the pipes to allow for hurtful defeats.
That's the 11th shorthanded goal the Stars have allowed this season, most in the league.
Despite a Season of Troubles, the Dallas Stars Future is Bright
Among all the pain and disaster this season, the once top of the league Stars have some bright spots, ones that assure that their future will be bright, and that they will return to tip top shape. But as of right now, this very day this season, the Stars are a sinking ship with no real possibility of a miraculous turnaround and run for the playoffs.
There have been three players this season that have emerged and have gone from nobodies to somebodies and are now fan favorites. Forwards Devin Shore and Remi Elie, and defenseman Esa Lindell are those players. They play on a team full of Stars- Jamie Benn, Tyler Seguin,and John Klingberg. However, when those guys have a night off or are struggling, which happened quite often this year, the Stars could count on Shore, Elie, and Lindell.
Shore has played in all of Dallas’ 68 games this season, scoring 11 goals and adding 17 assists. He has been praised by the Stars coaching staff for his ability to be a learner of the game and his ability to make split second smart decisions and to be in the right place at the right time. He plays a consistent game as well, and learns from his mistakes. But perhaps the best part about Devin Shore is that he is just 22 years old and this is his first full season in the NHL.
Once this nightmare of a season is over, expect Shore to be working hard this off-season in order to return next season and be as ready as ever. “My attitude is I know I’m going to make mistakes, but I want to make sure the mistakes I make are hard mistakes and not hesitant ones,” he told Dallas News. “And I do try to always understand the game and what’s important. You have to make sure you put yourself in a place where you can make plays and still recover from them. Know how not to make a big mistake.”
Remi Elie, 21, made his debut with the Stars not too long ago. Though he has only played four games this season, he has already tallied his first career goal and has added an assist as well. Two points in four games is impressive for the young talented player, but what is most impressive about him is his ability to reliable and to be counted upon by his teammates. He is an extremely fast skater and plays a gritty, tough hockey game. He absolutely has much to prove through the rest of this season, but he is off to a rather spectacular start and shows a lot of promise and potential.
“You look at the number of chances he created, the duress he put their defense under, and the fact that he’s a physical player,” head coach Lindy Ruff said to Dallas Sports Days regarding Elie’s play. “You take (Antoine) Roussel out of our lineup, and I think that’s a good replacement to continue down that path where we’re hard to play against.”
And then we have defenseman Esa Lindell, who is also in the middle of his first full NHL season. The 22-year-old Finnish blueliner has tallied five goals and seven assists in 59 games this season.
“If you say he has exceeded expectations, we might have set them too low,” coach Lindy Ruff told Sports Day Dallas.
“We thought he was going to be a really good player, and I think he’s proven that. Wherever you want to put those expectations, he’s been a steady performer throughout the whole year. He’s a good puck mover and a good skater with really good vision,” partner John Klingberg added. “He is a smart guy, and he’s only going to get better. He’s getting experience now, and he understands the game better.”
Lindell has proven himself to be one of the best, if not, the best rookie (out of eight) that the Stars have had this season.
This morning Lindy Ruff said the Stars who play the best will get the most ice time. Esa Lindell led the team with 25:18 TOI. #ImprovingDman
There's nothing fancy about his game, but Esa Lindell has established himself as a top rookie defensemen in the NHL. https://t.co/cQXqMa3OwP
After looking at each of these players, it is evident that the Stars have young talent at their disposal, and a ton of it. Give these players another year in the NHL, and it is guaranteed they become something special, something that will help lead the Stars back to the playoffs, and possibly even back to a run to the Stanley Cup.