Roope Hintz — it’s a name that has been on the tip of every Dallas Stars’ fan’s tongue since the 2021-22 season began. Going into last October, no one would have guessed that the 25-year-old forward would be on the team’s top line alongside veteran Joe Pavelski and up-and-comer Jason Robertson. Not only has the line been dynamic since nearly the start, Hintz has become one to watch and one to rely on for the Stars’ second half of the season.
In just his fourth season with the Stars, and his fourth season in the NHL, the 6-foot-3 Finn is proving he has every right to be on the ice.
Hintz’s Underrated Background
This season the forward has been at the top of his game, but while many are just taking notice of him, Hintz has been catching eyes since his first season in North America in 2017-18 with the the Texas Stars in the American Hockey League (AHL). He advanced so much in the league that he propelled his way to joining the NHL ranks the very next season, racking up 35 points (20 goals, 15 assists) in 70 games. Texas made it to the playoffs, and Hintz put up 14 points (four goals, eight assists) in 22 games to help his team reach the Calder Cup Finals (they lost to the Toronto Marlies).
Once he joined the NHL, the forward still worked hard and put up points as a rookie during the 2018-19 season, while being sent up and down between the Stars and their farm team. His points during the following two seasons were also nothing to scoff at, but Hintz hadn’t quite made a name for himself just yet. However, all the work he put in through previous seasons with the Stars paved the way for the player he is now — offensive, fast and absolutely deadly on the puck.
A Stellar Trio With Pavelski and Robertson
Hintz is in it to win it. Every time he hits the ice, he’s been consistent, impressive, and someone that teammates can learn from and lean on. He’s been the answer the struggling Stars have needed. He’s become a more-than-one-point-per-game player, arguably the teams’s MVP and has found himself inching past Tyler Seguin as the star centreman (“Grading the Stars’ forwards at midseason: Top line is excelling but most others still have plenty to prove”, The Athletic, Feb.3, 2022).
His speed is incredible, his scoring stands out amongst the roster and his defensive ability makes him Dallas’ go-to two-way player. He’s forward on the puck, and goes after it any chance he gets. He has 37 points in 41 games and shows no signs of slowing down.
Roope Hintz:— Brien Rea (@BrienRea) January 31, 2022
Five goals in the past six games.
First Dallas Star to hit the 20-goal mark this season.
20 goals in 29 games this season (11-game goal drought to start season…).
Big arts and crafts guy.#TexasHockey | #BOSvsDAL
With his consistency, Hintz is the perfect forward for the team to rely on. He’s been impressing head coach Rick Bowness each time he steps out on the ice.
“He’s probably one of our best defensive players,” Bowness said prior to the Stars’ Feb. 1 game against the Calgary Flames. “He’s just a very solid two-way player, exciting offensively and reliable defensively. He’s a No. 1 center. He’s that good.”
Stars Need Hintz to Keep At It
After a shaky loss to the Calgary Flames, and a break in the schedule due to the All-Star Game, the Stars need to be ready to come back into their regular games fighting. Just because Hintz has been the forward to beat doesn’t mean the rest of the forwards, or the team, can slack off — to rely on one line to carry the roster is unrealistic. The playoffs are growing closer and closer, the team has shown promise and the time is now for them to pick up their speed. And maybe Hintz can be one of the players that keeps them there.
Raylene Lung is a journalist based in Ottawa and has a Masters of Journalism from Carleton University. She has previously written for The Victory Press, The Hockey News, Canadian Geographic and most recently worked at CBC Edmonton. She still reads magazines religiously and loves women’s hockey. When she isn’t writing, she is riding her horse. She currently covers the Dallas Stars for The Hockey Writers.