As opposed to recent years, the Dallas Stars have a major problem in a certain part of their game. Their defense is simply not going to get them far into the postseason at this rate. But there is still hope halfway through 2024. Guys on the ice, and possibly the front office are going to have to step up.
Take care of the puck
One of the best ways to prevent goals against; don’t turn it over. Especially in your defensive zone. Games such as their January 6 meeting with the Nashville Predators is the biggest reminder of Dallas’s biggest problem. In that game, the Stars had three turnovers lead to goals in a contest they lost 4-3 in regulation. It’s been a problem all year. You can be an offensive minded team while still being more conscious of who’s where on the ice.
Turnovers anywhere on the ice are never good news. Holding on to the puck, and clean passes are essential for puck possession. Communication, and line chemistry are important to playing a cleaner, simpler game.
More ice time for better defense
Pairings that do the job better should get more ice time. Thomas Harley, and Joel Hanley has been working out the best of the current three. Ryan Suter has formed good chemistry with Nils Lundkvist as well.
The d pairing that has been Dallas’s biggest problem is Esa Lindell, and Janni Hakanpaa. While Hakanpaa has been the weakest link of the d core. We are a month and a half from the March 1st trade deadline. Who knows what Stars’ GM Jim Nill could cook up by then?
While the spotlight here has been on the blue line, the 12 man forward unit also has a say in team defense. From back checking to winning faceoffs, all 12 centers or wingers are part of the contribution in the defensive zone too.
An opportunity without Miro
When Heiskanen got injured, and was listed week to week Stars’ head coach Pete Deboer saw the situation through a team perspective. All teams deal with injuries, and Deboer knew that games are ultimately won and lost by a full team effort. Scolding Hakanpaa, or anybody else for poor ice play isn’t good for the locker room, or the win loss column.
Photo credit: Jerome Miron/USA TODAY Sports
This week things have fared better for Dallas, and their defense. Playing a home and home with the Minnesota Wild boded well for the Stars, and their team confidence. With the ups and downs of an 82 game season, the teamwork of everybody involved will dictate positive or negative results in helping the goalies keeping the puck out of the net.
Featured photo: Stephen R. Sylvanie/USA TODAY Sports