Heading into this off-season, the Dallas Stars and Jim Nill were looking to address the offensive woes of the team and hopefully fix the power play. The perception was that the Stars power play was dreadful, and at crucial times it certainly seemed that way, but the team managed to finish 11th in the NHL for the regular season at 21.0% per NHL.com.
The numbers don’t tell the entire story for the Stars struggled at converting during crucial moments. Enter Joe Pavelski. Based on the 2018-2019 season, Joe Pavelski would have led the Stars in power-play goals with 12. San Jose also finished the regular season with a 23.6% percentage.
The Sharks power play was certainly bolstered by having Erik Karlsson and Brent Burns, both defensemen who are capable of getting pucks through traffic and on net, letting Pavelski do what he does best, tipping goals in at the front of the net. Dallas thankfully has John Klingberg and Miro Heiskanen who both also excel at their ability to get the puck on net. Pavelski will feel right at home with being able to camp in front of the crease and tip pucks into the net with two elite defensemen feeding him the puck.
Dallas will have flexibility with their power play and how Joe Pavelski will fit into the team will be of great interest. Monty could opt to go with a big line of John Klingberg, Tyler Seguin, Jamie Benn, Alexander Radulov, and Joe Pavelski. This line could let Jamie and Pavelski camp in front of the crease and provide tip in chances, which would simplify the offense, something Dallas needed to do last season. The potential issue is that it could actually draw too much attention to the front of the net making goal-scoring actually more difficult. Additionally, it feels like putting your eggs all in one basket, something the Stars were guilty of this previous season for it was very much boom or bust much of the time.
Creating additional depth by dividing the power play units evenly creates better match-ups, for now, the other team is forced to pick their poison by potentially dividing their top penalty killers otherwise risk wearing those players out.
Dallas has the personnel to have an elite power play this upcoming season. All the pieces are there, but it is still a manner of putting the pieces in the right spot and executing. The statistics say Dallas had an above-average power play, but the stats did not tell the full story for the team as the Stars had some major struggles during key stretches last season. The addition of Joe Pavelski along with Miro Heiskanen having one full year of NHL experience under his belt.
Pavelski is hungry to lift his first Stanley Cup and the Stars are anxious to return to the glory of 1999. Improving upon the team’s power-play will go a long way to helping that dream come true.
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