A little over a quarter into the season, the Dallas Stars have had a successful start to 2024. In reality there are a lot of guys on this team you can make an argument for who has been the most valuable player to start the season. That is a good problem to have. Here we will look at three guys who have been the most consistent early on. As well as spotlight a few others who have also contributed regularly to the Stars’ solid start.
Nobody in a Stars uniform has been as consistently good as the 20 year old Wyatt Johnston. No sophomore slump for the center who skipped the minors in his rookie year.
Top six or bottom six, Johnston has been putting up numbers with anyone he skates with. Yes, the Stars are deep at forward but Johnston has also been bringing the best out of whoever he plays with. Especially Jamie Benn, and Tyler Seguin. Those two vets were often under fire for lack of production. That’s what valuable guys do; make the team around them better.
Many NHLers call it a career before age 39. Over this past summer David Krechi, and Patrice Bergeron retired at 37 and 38 respectively. Enter Joe Pavelski, who will be 40 next year. Despite his age he continues to play like he’s in his 20s. His production, and veteran leadership propels the Stars into a yearly playoff contender.
Pavelski has been off to a hot start this year too. This past month, he was named Dallas Star of the month. So far this season he’s over a point per game player. After today’s 8-1 drubbing of the Tampa Bay Lightning, Pavelski has extended his point streak to nine games. He also leads the Stars in goals with 10, and in points with 21 (has 11 assists).
While the biggest question mark for the Stars is the d core, nobody’s pointing fingers at Miro Heiskanen. Consistently one of the NHL’s finest at shutdown defense. He also puts up points despite a so far underwhelming total early in the season.
The only blackmark you can find is Heiskanen’ plus minus of minus three. However, the plus minus stat is argued by many to be the most useless stat that measures a player’s production. It’s more of a team stat than a reflection of the player. For example, Heiskanen’s plus minus is lower in part because he’s often paired up with Ryan Suter. Who’s inconsistent at best.
Hat tips go out to recently acquired Matt Duchene, Jake Oettinger, and the Ace of Spades aka Roope Hintz. Duchene took no time to adjust anywhere throughout the lineup. Oettinger has been a top three nhl goaltender despite a few games he’d rather forget. Hintz has been top five on the team in goals, assists, and points.
Photo credit: Gene J. Puskar/AP
Jason Robertson has been playing well, but has been a bit of a late bloomer to start the season. Two goals from today’s game vs the Lightning has Stars excited that Robertson seems to have found his 2023 form.
Featured photo: Julio Cortez/AP