Last Friday, the Dallas Stars’ All-Star forward Tyler Seguin was injured in a brutal collision when Florida Panthers’ defensemen Dmitry Kulikov delivered a hard hit.
The NHL announced Kulikov will be suspended four games for the illegal blow; however, the Stars’ will be without their leading scorer for 3-6 weeks as Dallsas placed Seguin on the injured reserved list over the weekend.
Seguin leads the team in both goals (29) and total points (59). Adjusting to life without their top offensive player will be challenging for the Stars as they currently sit outside the playoff picture even with Seguin playing every game he has been eligible for this season.
The first game that Seguin missed all year came on Saturday, a 4-1 loss to the Colorado Avalanche. The Avalanche are currently one point behind the Stars in the standings and are one of several teams in the hunt for a Western Conference playoff birth.
The Stars, who are still alive in the playoff race, must figure out a way to score goals without Seguin and last night they did just that as they came away with a huge 4-1 road victory over the St. Louis Blues. Center iceman Jason Spezza had three assists in the game as all three helpers were to captain Jamie Benn, who scored the first hat trick of his career.
Dallas aquired Spezza, an eleven year NHL veteran, last summer to help the Stars offensively. With star forwards Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin leading the team in goals last year, Spezza was poised to likely be the Stars’ third scoring option this year.
Indeed, Spezza has fit in nicely with his new team, as he is third on the roster in total points and first in assists. He is doing exactly what he came here to do-- help facilitate the offense by setting up others to score.
Now that Seguin is out for potentially over a month, someone must help Jamie Benn, who is second on the team with 22 goals, with the goal=scoring duties. Yes, Erik Cole has done his part by netting 15, and defensemen Trevor Daley is having a career year with 14 of his own. But Jason Spezza, with 12 goals on the year, has the experience and most certainly the talent to transition into a prolific scorer for the Stars.
With three goals and nine points in the last five games, it seems Spezza is ready to be a leader for the Stars in the wake of Seguin’s absence.