Down went two of the Dallas Stars' longest tenured defensemen recently, allowing two empty spots and two sets of big skates to fill.
Robidas broke his right tibia, and Daley has a high ankle sprain. Daley will probably be back before Robidas, who hopes to return before the playoffs, but Daley’s injury is no quick fix.
In the meantime, Dallas needs to shore up its defense.
As an AHL defenseman, Oleksiak led the Texas Stars with three goals and five points in 22 games. He made his NHL debut last season with the Dallas Stars against the Phoenix Coyotes on Feb 1. He tallied two assist and 14 penalty minutes. Oleksiak is 6-foot-7 and 250 pounds hailing from Ontario (so this little Dallas storm is nothing to him). In the 2011 NHL Draft, Oleksiak was Dallas’ first round (14th overall).
Edmonton native Kevin Connauton has now played two games in a row for Dallas, three total this season, and his talents are shining through.
Against the Maple Leafs last night, Connauton assisted Shawn Horcoff’s power play goal that tied Dallas with Toronto. Connauton shot at Toronto’s net 20 times during a 5-on-5, which comes to an 80% Corsi-For Percentage (CF Percent is a team's even-strength shot differential with a specific player on the ice), which significantly adds into the Stars 95 shots on goal last night. The only Stars defenseman with a higher percentage is Sergei Gonchar with 86.5%.
The Stars acquired Kevin Connauton in the April 2, 2012, trade of Derek Roy (now with the St. Louis Blues) to the Vancouver Canucks. Connauton, a 6-foot-1 left shot, can unwind a 99.4 mph slap shot. Looks like all we need now is a few more games with Connauton in them.
And we will certainly get them. As long as Robidas and Daley are out, Oleksiak and Connauton are in. And as long as they are in, they have the prime opportunity to show the Stars and the fans what they can bring to a now much depleted Dallas defense.
Join the Stars Saturday, December 7, at 1:00 pm where they host the Philadelphia Flyers.