The Dallas Stars 2020-21 season has started off in a flurry of record-setting paces. Mixed with flashes of brilliance dotted with bangs of failure. Their starting goalie, Ben Bishop, and one of their premier players, Tyler Seguin, are in rehabilitation from injuries. They haven’t played yet and their returns are set for midway through the season. In the season opener, captain Jamie Benn took a low hit and is now sidelined. The rotation of the taxi squad members looks more like New York City in rush hour than a hockey team cementing a roster. Enter Joe Pavelski, the Dallas Stars workhorse.
Joe Pavelski Rising to the Challenge
Important Play From Joe Pavelski
At 5’11 and 190 pounds, Joe Pavelski is hardly an imposing figure. However, his strength comes from his tenacity and on-ice work ethic. It would be a grave mistake to underestimate him. In all but one of the first six games of the season, he has scored points either with a goal or an assist. He had led the Dallas Stars to a 4-0 start, carrying the weight of their missing offensive weapons. He’s performed the yeoman’s task of filling in big shoes, inspiring teammates to pick up the slack, and kicked the door in on the 2020-21 season with authority.
But now the burden of leading an ever-changing line-up due to injury is starting to lighten. The return of Benn has allowed Pavelski to work with other lines, to improve on their full-strength offence while maintaining a suffocating defensive presence. No one doubted that the offensive power-play production the Stars opened the season with could not be maintained throughout the entire season. Even if it is a shortened one such as this year. But the question to be answered was how could the Stars perform at even strength? Joe Pavelski has shown that his role is still vital, providing the team’s only goal in a 4-1 loss.
Experience is a Strength
Much like Jamie Benn, through most of Pavelski’s career, he’s scored around 20 goals a season. Also a few in the 30 goal range, and a season-high 41 goals in 2013-14 with the San Jose Sharks. His addition to the Dallas Stars roster in 2019 was meant to add offensive support to the likes of Benn and Seguin. So far, he has been a much-needed piece to a championship team. But his scoring isn’t his most outstanding statistic on a team striving to use defence as their best offensive weapon. Pavelski shines with his points from assists. Finding open players, firing pucks into the muck in front of the net, and creating opportunities for his teammates is where Pavelski performs his yeoman’s work. He lifts his teammates onto his shoulders, carrying them like Atlas hefts the globe.
A Captain in Waiting
In an injury-riddled opening, a debut of a rookie goalie, on an unsatisfied, hungry team driven to avenge the defeat in the Stanley Cup finals, Joe Pavelski has answered the call and got the train rolling for the Dallas Stars. As injured players return and superstars take the ice again, Pavelski remains a solid Assistant Captain with the performance of any Captain on any NHL team. He’s a leader in the locker room, a coach on the ice, and a powerhouse with the puck. However, should the need arise, he can fill the role of Captain at a moment’s notice.