When the Stars signed former San Jose Sharks captain Joe Pavelski in the offseason last year, there were a lot of questions circulating among fans as to how this would benefit the Stars.
Some of these questions included general frustration over the cap space he would take up, disappointment in losing Mats Zuccarello, and whether it was a good idea to sign another player above the age of 30. Those concerns lingered in the back of fans’ minds until the season started.
With the 1-7-1 start to the season, a lot of fans potentially overlooked what Pavelski could bring to the table for us.
Joe Pavelski played for the San Jose Sharks for 13 seasons, leading them to multiple deep playoff runs, including a Stanley Cup Final in 2016 and the Western Conference Finals last season. He is known for his intensity and leadership on the ice, establishing a dominating presence especially close to the net as one of the best tip-in goal scorers in the league. Watching him practice his signature tip-in goal should have you thinking about how this benefits the Stars.
One of Pavelski’s key strengths in his time with the Sharks was his ability to score on a power play, with 34.4% of his total career goals being on special teams. When you look at the Stars, who sit at 13th in the league with a 21.1 PCT on the power play, it’s hard not to look at a player like Pavelski for help.
To break it down, I want to look at our 1st power-play unit and compare the percentage of goals scored on special teams. To simplify it a little, we’re only going to look at this season’s numbers. The first power-play unit is usually Jamie Benn, Tyler Seguin, Alexander Radulov, Joe Pavelski, and John Klingberg. The Stars have 42 power-play goals this season, 20 of them coming from the first unit. Six of those 20 came from Pavelski, putting him second to Radulov by only one goal.
I’ve outlined each player in the first unit’s power-play goal percentage for their career and then separated out by the 2019-2020 season.
To calculate these percentages I took the number of power-play goals scored and divided it by the total goals scored.
|Player||PPG% Career||PPG% |
This Season (2019-20)
Key: PPG = Power play goal
If you take a look at Pavelski’s success rate on the power play, 42% is a great indicator of his abilities. Six out of the 42 power-play goals may seem like a small number, but you have to remember that before the stoppage of the season, Pavelski was starting to become a consistent presence on the Stars offense. On February 3, 2020, he pulled out an impressive two power-play goals in a record 16 seconds against the New York Rangers.
The thing about the Stars that can be so frustrating for fans is that they get a decent amount of power-play opportunities, having 199 this season so far. When you have players as strong as Jamie Benn or Tyler Seguin, it doesn’t make sense why they aren’t excelling on special teams until you break down and deep dive into the stats from this season.
Joe Pavelski is an addition that the team needs, someone who can consistently convert on the power play. Power plays are an advantage, and as a team, you want to convert on them as much as possible, especially in the postseason when it matters the most.
Joe Pavelski has all of the tools to embed himself as a success within the Dallas offensive system and if he can regain the momentum that he was showing before the season pause, I don’t think we should count him out as a top contributor this postseason.
His skills, statistics, and playoff experience show that he could be a decisive factor in a deep run for the Stars.
Featured Image: Brandon Wade/AP