Friday, May 17, 2013

After Disappointing Round 2 Exit, Thoughts on What Went Wrong

Handshakes of the disappointing variety last night in OKC. (Credit: Steven Christy)
Less than twelve hours after the Stars ended their 2013 Calder Cup run in Oklahoma City, it's still a little difficult to process what happened. With so much promise in the regular season and the top seed going into the playoffs, the season is over in a flash. It wasn't a series of close, grinding games like the Milwaukee series either; Texas was outscored 16-4 in the Barons' barn.

There are a few thoughts that spring to mind immediately and certainly more will come as the next few days give me time to mentally go through the regular and postseason.

  • The Barons' best players were their best players. I wrote about it in last night's game recap, but the Barons had phenomenal efforts from Yann Danis, Mark Arcobello, Toni Rajala and more. They also picked up solid performances from guys you might not have expected, like Taylor Fedun and CJ Stretch.

  • Texas's best players were not their best players. Matt Fraser didn't have a point in the series and had the egregious turnover in OT of Game 1 to give the Barons the win. Alex Chiasson's only point came on the inconsequential lone goal last night. He struggled with the unexplained transition to center and was minus-8 in the series. The Stars' leading scorer in round 1, Kevin Connauton, had a single assist and was minus-8 in the series as well.

  • Line shuffling last night was very confusing. Travis Morin, all-time points leader for Texas and all-time assists leader, was moved to the wing to be centered by Toby Petersen. Colton Sceviour dropped to the third line to center Glennie and Reilly Smith. Glennie had been doing well in the defensive center role in the series. While he hadn't recorded any points, coming into last night's game he was one of Texas's few plus players in the series. Also, Sceviour hasn't played center in months. It's not like you forget, but it's not the best time to make a shift and play with new linemates.

  • There were warning signs of this possible end. After the trade deadline, Texas was going great guns but then dropped back-to-back games against Hamilton and OKC, both in the last minute of the game. At the time, it was mostly written off as troubling but, due to some of the lineup changes, excusable. The team beat San Antonio convincingly three times and split against Charlotte the next week, and it was mostly forgotten. Then the team backed into the postseason with losses against Houston and Rockford.

    You can say what you will about resting starters or chemistry, but in the last month of the season, Texas only beat a playoff team once. They were 1-3 against playoff clubs in April and that one win was in OT. Most of their games were against non-playoff clubs, where they were a still-unimpressive 3-2.

  • Penalties weren't as bad as it looked on the surface if you're just looking at the numbers. Texas actually has the fewest PIMs in the playoffs, both overall and in terms of minors/game. However, the Stars allowed a power play goal in each of their games in OKC, going 10/13 on the kill overall. The penalties also seemed to come at the worst times, stopping momentum and handing it right to the Barons. There was a measure of frustration there clearly.
Now it's also time to start evaluating who will be back for next year, who's coming in from juniors and overseas, and many other future looking pieces of the puzzle, including who will be the Stars' ECHL affiliate. Stay tuned...

9 comments:

  1. There could be a lot of changes over the summer. There are a lot of UFAs and RFAs on the list. I'm expecting to see some, maybe even most of them, leave the team. There will probably be a bunch of trades and permanent call-ups, as well, to try to get some firepower up in Dallas. Of the new guys, I expect that we'll keep Gaunce, Connauton, and Ritchie, but many of them didn't get much (if any) play time and may just be trade bait. The team may be largely unrecognizable from last year's starting line up.

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  2. I agree with there being changes over the summer. The free agent list in Dallas will also impact our roster. I have read quite a few articles, that mention that both Connauton and Gaunce may may the big club next season. And, we will see several guys new into the system too. It will be interesting to see. Steve

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  3. Nice write up Stephen, I especially agree with the forth point being entering the playoffs in a losing mode. At the time it made me abit nervous but faith in Willie and Chiasson lighting it up in the NHL made me think they could overcome. Like I posted last night I blasted Gully for the Stars limping into the playoffs year two and didn't Willie. Obviously they had to do alot of juggling in the last couple of weeks but some times we overlook the fact all the teams were (juggling) and in fact what we saw is what we were. It still bothers me they didn't send back Eakin, Dillon, and Roussel. They are guys on a non playoff NHL team and could use the work in Cedar Park.

    I'll always look at this as the year it was theirs for the taking and they didn't commit to winning it.

    As for our team next year who knows but we have some time now to think it over I guess.

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  4. They have made it clear they want to win now so dont expect Dallas to have a roster filled with first and second year players on it. Some of these prospects will be moved to get guys who are already NHL proven. If that pick from Boston becomes a 1st rounder it could be moved for such a player. This years draft is looking like the best in quite a while, the first 8-10 picks could all have a chance to play in the NHL next season. If they keep it they could pick up a guy like Max Domi late in the round. Memorial Cup starts tonight it will be on NHL network in the morning, lots of the top picks will be playing check it out!

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    1. I really haven't heard any plans coming out of Dallas, I'm sure they say "Win now" but what does that mean? Or is it just something they say because the fans want to hear it. If I were the new GM I would be very careful moving the younger players, he would be putting all his eggs in one basket. Look what Dallas did this year with the "win now" roster they started with. If they dumped young talent to get it they would be screwed.

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  5. LIST OF UFA RFA's Texas #8 Jordie Benn, #21 Travis Morin,#18 Maxime Fortunus, #7 Colton Sceviour, #41 Christopher Nilstorp,Cameron Guance, Tom Wandell,mike commodore,Tyler Beskorwany,Richard Bachman,Luke Gazdic, jace coyle,Matthew Toisignant,

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  6. Five of those guys - Benn, Morin, Sceviour, Fortunus, and Gazdic - have been with Texas for a long time and it will hard to see them leave, but if Dallas doesn't want to sign them again, there are other teams NHL/AHL who could use them. The guys who have spent most of this season in the ECHL will probably be stuck there for the foreseeable future. Wandell was never really ours, so I don't think he'll be back this way. I'm hoping that Dallas keeps Nilstorp, Gaunce, and Commodore on two-ways. However, I'm worried that Dallas may raid Texas for their roster or as trade bait. Even players who still have time on their contracts may be traded if Dallas has them under contract. Sigh.... Going to be a long long summer!

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  7. i don't think Jim Nill(Dallas) would be obligated to Resign Beskorowany(Foreseeable Release), Morin(foreseeable Release),Tom Wandell(foreseeable release),Jace Coyle(foreseeable release), Matthieu Tousignant(foreseeable release), Jordie Benn (foreseeable release)

    Questionable Releases: Richard Bachman

    Keeps(sign|resign): Mike Commodore, Luke Gazdic, Maxime Fortunus,Christopher Nilstorp

    Prospects Stuck in Idaho(possibly if Dallas wants Allen as Affiliate over Idaho): Austin Smith(signed through 2014-2015), Austin Fyten,Hubert Labrie(signed through 2013-2014),

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    1. Wandell has already signed overseas for 2 years and Commodore doesn't have a NHL contract.

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