In this age of the NHL, it isn’t enough for defensive teams to be tough, teams have to be smart on the ice. The Dallas Stars have a nice mix on their defense, no two players styles are the exact same. It’s what makes their success work.
The Stars have got the brains and the brawn, together on their defensive team. On one hand, the Stars have players like Roman Polak and Jamie Oleksiak who are known for their big hits and intimidating stature, while on the other hand there are players like Miro Heiskanen and John Klingberg who are smart with the puck and known for their speed on the ice.
Last season, the Stars’ defense was out of this world in the heat of the season. The group helped keep control of the puck on the ice and gave the Stars a leg to a standoff when the offense struggled. In this season coming up, there are two players that can push this defensive group onto the next level.
Firstly, Stephen Johns. The Stars are hoping to get back Stephen Johns for this season. Johns missed all of last season with a head injury but in his season prior with the Stars, the defenseman played in 75 games with 155 blocked shots and 201 hits while averaging 17:33 on the ice per game. Johns scored 8 goals with 7 assists in that season as well, all while holding a +10 rating. He plays such an aggressive game and being 6’4″, 225 lbs, helps him shove guys around. Johns would be fantastic to have back this season but only if he’s fully healed and ready to go. Head injuries are serious and no season is worth Johns’ life.
The Stars have added 6′ 0″, 200lbs defenseman Andrej Sekera during this offseason. Sekera played in 24 games with the Edmonton Oilers last season. He had 21 blocked shots and 17 hits in those 24 games, alongside 4 assists and a +3 rating. Sekera has both the brawn and brains, he can carry the puck well and gets physical when need be.
The defense faced minimal additions and subtractions this summer but there wasn’t much improvement that they needed. The Stars have gotten yoked this off-season, offensively and defensively; they’ve got a steady group defending the ice.
The mix of brawn and brain is the Stars’ key to success. Fresh players can bring bright futures to a team, stay positive Stars fans!
Featured Image: Tony Gutierrez/AP