3 Biggest Surprises of the Dallas Stars Fast Start

As we close out the month of October there are several positive surprises which have contributed to the Dallas Stars early season success. Today we will look at three specific examples.

Going into Saturday afternoon’s game against the Sharks the Stars are first in the Western Conference with a record of 8-2. The Stars are also tied for second in the NHL with 16 points and trail only the Montreal Canadiens who have 20.

Jamie Benn

Having won the Art Ross trophy last season some might consider Benn’s start to be expected. However, coming from double offseason hip surgeries it is truly astounding. Going into Saturday’s action, Benn leads the league in points (17) and goals (9).

It’s hard to believe just a few weeks ago coach Lindy Ruff was commenting on Benn’s rust and how he wasn’t sure when Benn would be up to full speed. Question answered.

Benn’s skills and results have quickly raised him to that elite athletic status where “nothing” surprises you anymore. He played much of last season on two bad hips and led the league in scoring. Obviously, having two improved hips should only help his game. But so soon after surgery?

Composure Under Adversity

Despite the fast start, there have been a few “here we go again” moments to remind Stars’ fans of last season’s epic collapses. Yet for the most part, this season the Stars are showing composure under adversity and are developing a bit of swagger along the way.

Starting with Stars General Manager Jim Nill and head coach Lindy Ruff the expectations are different this year. After the Stars lost to Colorado in an all too familiar late game meltdown, Ruff called out his star players, not by name, but instead leveraging the common hockey coaching phrase “Your best players have to be your best players.”

The team responded by winning 5 in a row. They have also demonstrated an ability to come from behind with an amazing comeback win against the Ducks.

The additions of Patrick Sharp, Johnny Oduya and Antti Niemi bring an element of calm and championship pedigree.  Meanwhile the disappointment of last season is still fresh enough in the minds of veteran Stars players to also be a motivator.

Mattias Janmark

Janmark was one of the pieces the Stars received back in the Erik Cole trade last season. Going into training camp the Stars knew he would either be going back to Sweden or making the NHL roster. Considered a long shot, even Janmark himself thought another year in Sweden would be the logical outcome.

Dallas Stars
(Credit: Michael Connell/Texas Stars Hockey)

However, Janmark impressed early in camp and continued to excel as camp wore on.

The 22-year-old rookie forward from Stockholm, Sweden, started the season with a 4 game point scoring streak.

Since then his production has tailed off some (just 1 point in last 6 games), but he continues to play a solid two-way game. His minus 4 in a 6-2 loss to the Florida Panthers was his only sub par game so far this season.

He has the versatility to play second line minutes or a bottom six role.