After struggling to score early in the season, the Dallas Stars have turned things around recently. Getting Jamie Benn under contract and the return of Derek Roy from a groin injury have helped, allowing the Stars to get both their top two centers in the lineup. But an increase in depth scoring has played a big role in the recent offensive output as well.
Over the first 12 games, 19 of the Stars’ 25 goals (76 percent) came from the top six forwards. Over the last four games, 10 of the Stars’ 15 goals (67 percent) have come from guys not playing in the top six.
“We’re a team that is going to have to do it collectively,” said Stars coach Glen Gulutzan. “We need contributions from everybody.”
The contributions from depth players have helped. In the first seven games the Stars received goals from seven different players, and scored 13 total goals (1.86 per game). Over their last seven games they’ve received goals from 12 different players and scored 24 goals (3.43 per game).
The Stars’ two lower lines have chipped in eight goals over the last four games, and the defense has chipped in two – both off the stick of Brenden Dillon.
Cody Eakin, Antoine Roussel, Ryan Garbutt and Eric Nystrom are the third and fourth line forwards who have chipped in, and each of those guys have scored two goals each.
And that depth scoring – at this least by this calculation – doesn’t factor in a couple of goals by forward Reilly Smith, who has scored twice in the last two games since being moved up to the top six.
“I’m getting more comfortable every day,” said Smith who went scoreless in his first 12 games. “It was a tough start to the year, and I wanted to help the team a little bit more offensively. But everything’s kind of happening for me out there right now.”
Smith’s scoring – along with the goals by Eakin, Roussel and Dillon – have given the Stars some important production by the youth in their lineup. Six of the team’s seven goals in the last two games have come from players 23-years-old or younger.
“The last two games guys have carried the weight,” said Stars captain Brenden Morrow. “The young guys are starting to find the back of the net and get their confidence, and that will be huge for us down the road.”
The Stars made roster moves Monday. They recalled forward Matt Fraser and defenseman Jordie Benn from the Texas Stars of the AHL. Forwards Tomas Vincour and Tom Wandell were assigned to Texas. Wandell is on a conditioning assignment.
Stars to practice in McKinney Tuesday
The Stars had Monday off. They’ll practice at the Dr. Pepper StarCenter in McKinney on Tuesday at 10:30 a.m. The practice is open to the public.