Most people who read the boards know I am not a sunshine pumper. In fact I have been extremely displeased most of this season. And still don't believe this is a playoff team. That being said, it's Christmas so I wanted to make a list of the good things about this team. Because while the totality on the ice hasn't been impressive, there are some individuals who deserve praise.
1) Loui Eriksson - If there's justice and he continues this pace Loui will be the Stars All Star representative. Raise your hand if you bet money on that before the season started. I've always thought he was our mini-Jere because of his defensive positioning and making the right play in the defensive and neutral zones. Well that hasn't changed but wow what a revelation he's become from the red line in. I still wish he were better at picking the top of the net in tight to the goalie but he's going to the front of the net and making plays. He's on a pace for 46 goals! Read that again. I know many have been dissatisfied with Richards but he's a big reason Loui's progressed so much. Lundqvist or Brunnstrom as their other winger going forward will help their play as well.
2) Trevor Daley - The oft maligned defenseman who has all the skills in the world but never really merged them together in his play on the ice may just be doing that. His ability to skate the puck up the ice is as good as anyone in the league and now it seems he knows when to pass or shoot. He's also got a really nice wrist shot that's beginning to emerge. Trevor is only 25 and that three year contract he signed this summer is going to look amazing in two years. When he's on the ice our transition out of our own zone is light years better. I expect big things out of him as the season progresses.
3) James Neal - Morrow's loss is Neal's gain. He'd never be getting these minutes were Brenden healthy. He's not the Lucic mold of a power forward but he does wade in and bully defenseman in front of the net. His hands also separate him from Morrow's early years. The other comparison many have made is Shane Doan. That may be the more accurate projection, especially as his body fills out. Either way he's shown he belongs, and all this ice time this year will payoff next season and beyond.
4) Fabian Brunnstrom - Maybe scouts do know what they're talking about. Many thought the hype was unwarranted. Don't they look stupid now. Despite Tippet's habitual refusal to play the rookies, Brunnstrom has soared with extra ice time. I've said it before but he's as talented as anyone on this roster not named Ribiero or Richards with the puck. His ability to keep the puck along the offensive boards is fantastic and as he gets used to linemates and positioning his assist numbers will go up as well. He works hard to improve himself as evidenced by the leaps and bounds his defensive zone coverage has improved. Everyone here should thank god he chose the Stars because watching what he's all ready accomplished and just how high his ceiling is, I'd curl up in a ball and cry if he was doing this in Detroit.
5) Mike Modano - Early on when we really, really sucked Mike was like the only bright spot on this roster. When a lot of older guys are slowing down he still is a better skater than most of the players in the league. Now that he's playing with Neal and Lehtinen I expect him to once again start adding up the points. Regardless of the numbers pretty much once a game I see a shift that 38 year olds aren't supposed to be able to do at this level.
6) Landon Wilson - But Hull Fan, what's he doing here? 15 gm, 1g, 6a +6 averaging 10:00 minutes a night. He's everything a team could want a forth liner to be. He's not lost in the offensive zone. He forechecks hard, is defensively sound, and skates well for a big guy. The fact that he's one of the few right wing, right shots doesn't hurt either. I had no expectations when he was recalled. I figured he was a journeyman at best but his play with a damaged eye is impressive. Nepotism may have got him here but his play on the ice keeps him in the lineup when everyone is healthy. After all he's been through good for him.
7) Andrew Hutchinson - Are you seriously telling me he couldn't hack it in Tampa Bay? Good lord their management team is atrocious at identifying talent. I don't care that he hasn't put up numbers even though he's supposed to be an offensive defenseman. He skates really well, is well above average knowing when to skate the puck out or bang it out off the wall, and is a solid passer. As he gets more time and comfort with the system I expect him to start joining the rush more. He's a guy making 500,000 under team control this year and next. His play has earned him a starting spot in this lineup and he would be my 5th or 6th defenseman every night. Good for him. All it cost us was Richard Clune. What a nice deal.
So everyone there's something to look forward to as we approach the New Year. Y'all be safe during the holidays and have a Merry Christmas.
great list hull fan, finally something worth reading about Dallas on these forums
I'm with you on Andrew Hutchinson. I believe in rewarding hard work and Hutchinson has shown that he deserves to be a part of this team moving on. Even in the games where he's had to play 14-15 minutes (and there have been a couple of them) he's not let his play slide as the game went on. It's funny looking back and reflecting on the fact that 99% of the fans in this forums (including Dallas fans) thought Dallas had been fleeced in the trade that brought Hutchinson to Dallas - guess we were all wrong
** almost forgot - merry christmas everyone! best wishes for a happy new year as well
Way to be optomistic hull fan! Yes, this season has been rough but we've been improving lately (especially with that 8-2 win, great way to enter our xmas break) and are just 3 points away from the 8th seed. I know we can turn it around in these 49 games after christmas.