We’re back for the second week of the Texas Stars mailbag experiment in 2015.
If you have questions about the team, a certain player, or anything else that comes to mind send them my way. I’ll be fielding questions via Twitter, the Wrong Side of the Red Line Facebook page, and via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Let’s see what we’ve got for this week:
@seanshapiro I've seen a lot of dump and chase this season. What are the advantages of that vs a player carrying the puck in?
— Meg S (@MySunshineBabe) January 7, 2015
We don’t have fancy stats (or many stats in general) in the AHL to compare exact numbers, but the Texas Stars have not been the same puck possession team that they where during the 2013-14 season.
A couple key departures contributed to this change, the biggest being Willie Desjardins who now coaches the Vancouver Canucks.
Texas attacked with speed and controlled the point of attack from within the offensive zone during the 2013-14 season, while Desjardins put an extra emphasis on controlled zone entries. It was all built from the ideology that the team with the puck is going to get more chances, and the team with more chances should win more often than it loses.
Derek Laxdal also believes in generating chances — every coach does — but the Stars have played a more straight-forward physical style this season, which is built on creating turnovers and wearing down the opposition, thus more dump and chase.
Player personnel also contributes to the change. To put it bluntly, this team isn’t as talented as it was last season.
The departure of players like Dustin Jeffrey, Chris Mueller, and Mike Hedden combined with a rash of injuries, the flu, and NHL call-ups have hurt the Stars’ talent level this season. Texas may want more controlled zone entries, but with new faces in and out of the lineup it’s easier to adapt to a dump-and-chase mentality when two-thirds of a line started the season in the ECHL.
Texas is going to remain a physical team and is going to play Laxdal’s style for the rest of the season. However, as the organization gets healthier — both in the NHL and AHL — Texas talent level will rise and possibly lead to more controlled zone entries.
Probably not with the Dallas Stars.
Scott Glennie, the eighth-overall pick in 2009, will be 24 in February and in 194 AHL game he hasn’t taken the necessary steps to move up Dallas’ depth chart.
He’s also been injured at inopportune times and missed 71 games, almost a full season’s worth, since the start of the 2012-13 season. During that time other players (Brett Ritchie, Curtis McKenzie, Justin Dowling, etc.) have progressed forward and pushed Glennie down the organizational depth chart.
To be fair, Glennie has become a serviceable AHL player. He’s good in his own defensive zone and can be counted on for a point every other game (95 points in 194 games).
He could have a lengthy AHL career. But, I wouldn’t be surprised if Glennie ended up playing in Europe at some point if another NHL team doesn’t give him a shot.
Now about your alternate question. Hasn’t former Texas Stars intern Teddy Berlin been spending time in the American Airlines Center press box as an NHL intern this season?
Would you consider that the show?
So, I’m going to give an alternative theory about why Jussi Rynnas started six straight games before this weekend.
The Dallas Stars have been looking for a reliable back-up goalie, that’s obvious. The NHL club’s back-up goalies — Anders Lindback and Rynnas — have a combined 1-9 record and have a league-low save percentage.
There may be a mandate from the NHL club to get Rynnas ready in case Lindback struggles in his next NHL start, like he did in a 4-2 loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets. Dallas could put Lindback on waivers, where he’d likely clear, and then send the goalie to Texas where he could play four or five games to build confidence like he did in early December.
If Rynnas was called up he’d still be waiver exempt for six NHL games, giving Dallas some flexibility to easily change back-up goalies if the experiment doesn’t work out.
1.) what do you think of our Idaho Steelhead prospect goaltenders Maxime Legace & Henrik Kiviaho (thoughts of progress or lack of progress, time needed to develop to reach #AHL)
2.) with the Talent we have seen from Henrik Kiviaho during preseason is it likely he will make it to the #AHL #txstar level next season or in the near future? or be something Dallas looks at with the goal tending Decline they face.
Joseph via email
I haven’t seen much from either prospect in person. Maxime Lagace is playing for the Missouri Mavericks in the ECHL, while Henri Kiviaho has been playing second fiddle to Olivier Roy for the Idaho Steelheads.
Looking at ECHL numbers and limited time in training camp with Texas, they both have a long way to to go.
I think Kiviaho is the closer of the two. However, if there was a long-term injury I wouldn’t be surprised if Texas signed another veteran ECHL goalie (maybe even Roy from Idaho) before calling up either Lagace or Kiviaho.
I don’t think Kiviaho plays in the AHL next season. I think he needs to win a starting job in the ECHL before moving up to the AHL.
I think Texas has closed the book on both of those players for this season and GM Scott White would likely look elsewhere if, and when, the Stars needed another player from the ECHL. His actions confirmed this when he signed Eric Faille to a PTO yesterday.
I liked Taylor Stefishen’s style of play, but he got very limited action and due to injury didn’t really have a chance to impress with Texas. I wouldn’t be surprised if he ended up getting a sniff with the Rochester Americans at some point after his play with the Elmira Jackals.
Connor Hardowa is just a victim of the numbers game for the Stars. Texas has nine defensemen on the roster and Hardowa’s chances of getting meaningful ice time where limited.
Had Texas truly been sold on either player, the team could have signed them to an AHL-ECHL contract.
Before this season Mike Dalhuisen had never played forward in his career. In fact, he’s considered himself a defenseman since he first started playing the game.
However, that hasn’t stopped him from doing anything in his power to find a spot on the Stars roster — he even told me he’d play goalie if he had to — and right now, that spot is as an agitator or enforcer on the fourth line.
And he’s taken that to heart.
In games he’s played Dalhuisen has tried to hit everything and anything with a pulse. He also leads the team with three fights, including a lengthy bout with Travis Ewanyk in the Stars win against Oklahoma City on Tuesday.
For the time being, I think Dalhuisen is sticking around. On a team without much of a mean streak — Texas has an AHL-low 12 fights — coach Derek Laxdal likes having a player available he can plug into the lineup that will ratchet up the physicality.
I’m going to stick with that. However, I will add in Radek Faksa and 19-year-old Julius Honka as dark horses to make the NHL roster at some point during the 2015-16 season.