When you think of the Dallas Stars, you immediately think of the Big Three; Jamie Benn, Tyler Seguin, and Alexandar Radulov.
The Big Three is now expanding rapidly.
With the resurgence of Ben Bishop over the past two seasons and the offseason additions of Joe Pavelski and Corey Perry, fans have more to be excited about and are forgetting about the young guns already growing into their own on the current Stars roster. Miro Heiskanen’s All-Star rookie campaign last year was one of the best in franchise history and he has continued to build off of last year’s momentum.
Yet, fellow Stars defensemen Esa Lindell isn’t far off from those same numbers year after year, which brings up the question: Why is Esa still overlooked?
In 2019, Esa Lindell had a phenomenal regular season and postseason, prompting the Dallas Stars front office to sign the young Finn to a 6-year contract extension. In August I wrote a prediction saying that he would make the All-Star game this year, and I cannot believe I was wrong.
Just looking at his stats alone, you would think that he easily made the roster over those that did, granted that every professional sports league’s All-Star weekend is just fan favorite voting, not the actual best players in the league.
Esa got cheated.
In my opinion, Esa is one the top three most impactful players on the Dallas Stars roster and a top 7 defensemen in the entire NHL. He does all the dirty work and helps grit out games night in and night out when the offense just isn’t there. He may be young, but he is skilled and experienced beyond his years from being put into difficult situations early and often in his career.
Lindell’s physical play is something that the Stars need in close games and helps swing momentum in their favor in the low scoring games, which unfortunately has been quite frequent lately. His constant movement in the defensive zone and vigorous poke checking on opponents creates frustration and presses patience for opposing teams while helping create chances for the Stars on the other.
Esa is also the leader of the Stars first-class power play kill, which has been ranked in the top ten in the NHL for the last two seasons.
The young defender doesn’t take stupid penalties, avoids mistakes in the defensive and neutral zone (for the love of God follow his lead, Klingberg) and hasn’t missed a game the entire season while posting a positive Plus/Minus rating which is unheard of as much as he is on the ice. The twenty-five-year-old plays a game that veterans still strive for in their later years.
As a Stars fan, it irks me that their workhorses like Esa, Miro, and Faksa don’t get love, but that’s fine.
Sooner or later, people start to notice. I will take Stanley Cup appearances over All-Star weekend votes all day.
Featured Image: CBS-DFW