With 2019 first-round draft pick Thomas Harley on the ‘Covid’ Squad (Taxi) to begin the 2020-2021 season, active roster honors for the youngest player in Dallas go to 20-year-old forward Ty Dellandrea on the daily. Clocking in as a Top-5 eldest NHL squad this season and facing a growing injury report nightly, this Stars team has no doubt had their recent play uplifted by the spry legs of their youngest skater.
While his tenacity can be described no better than a truly dogged takeaway on Detroit Red Wings winger Mathias Brome on Tuesday, it is the faith that Stars head coach Rick Bowness has instilled in Dellandrea that is catching the attention of this shortened seasons makeshift Central Division.
“I have no problem putting him out in any situation: key faceoffs, key penalty kills, power play, against really good lines. He can play center, he can play right wing. He’s a big part of the future of this team.”
--- Dallas Stars head coach Rick Bowness, on Dellandreas’ skill set
Those words transcribed themselves onto the ice in Dallas on Tuesday as Dellandrea indeed saw time on the penalty kill, power play and manned the defensive circle for face-offs late into an eventually tie game through regulation.
While the impending, to be decided question is where does Ty Dellandrea fit on a healthy Dallas Stars squad, there are three areas where the youngster can immediately be of service to his teammates and his future in Dallas.
Former team captain Tyler Seguin is expected out of action into March as he recovers from off-season hip surgery. While the talented center received some of the lowest offensive marks of his career during the 2019-2020 season, his acumen in the face-off circle soared. Finishing third in the NHL and first in the Pacific Division at 58.2% for those over 800 total tries.
While winning face-offs in the Ontario Hockey League is light years from winning an NHL draw, Dellandrea shined in 2019-2020 hauling in an impressive rate of 59.1% in the circle, good for fourth in the OHL among players whom netted greater than 1,000 face-offs.
Currently in the Top-10 across NHL rookies this season at 53.6%, his numbers should only improve as Rick Bowness continues to entrust him circle time. Additionally, if you have been watching the Stars games closely you will have seen Dellandrea in the circle chirping with officials on multiple occasions this season. Always a student, this one.
Entering Tuesday's contest, the Dallas Stars listed on their injury roster accounted for fifty-six professional hockey seasons. That is some serious missing ice-time.
Dellandrea might be a new comer at 20-years-old but he amassed 230+ OHL games prior to making his NHL debut this season with Dallas. The kid has the lungs to be a stop gap for an ailing Dallas roster.
He is a player that’s young, but skates well, has good skill and he’s fearless out there.
--- Dallas Stars veteran Joe Pavelski, on Dellandreas’ presence on the ice
In part to his relentless skating, Dellandrea boasts the second highest TOI/GP (Time On Ice per Games Played) and the highest SHIFT/GP (Shifts per Games Played) for offensive NHL rookies. While these numbers are likely to dwindle incrementally with the pending return of Jamie Benn and Joel Kiviranta, among others, the Stars 3-0 start to the season is far from without his contributions.
While the youngest Star searches for his first NHL point, he has shown his brand of hockey on the ice tallying five hits and exemplifying the fearlessness that Pavelski highlighted, currently tied for the Stars early lead in blocks by forwards.
Also worth noting, as goalkeeper Anton Khudobin carries an NHL leading 0.99 GAA (Goals Against Average) into the Stars upcoming game, Dellandrea sports a ceiling busting dzs% (percentage of zone starts on defense) of 83.3%. More evidence that Stars management feels comfortable entrusting seasonal outcomes to the young Canadian.
Despite Dallas clocking in as one of the eldest clubs in the NHL a large core of their productive nucleus, players that will be saved to the expansion draft at the end of this season, are younger in relation to the league average. 2019-2020 leading scorers Denis Gurianov and Roope Hintz are 23-years-old and 24-years-old alike this season.
Fans saw on Tuesday Dellandrea take the ice alongside fellow rookie Jason Robertson, aged 21-years-old. Nicholas Caamano as well at 22-years-old received the most ice time he has seen in a single game already this season. As it takes a full roster – and currently an additional taxi squad – to win an ice hockey game, establishing rapport now alongside future Dallas Stars contributors could be a larger blessing in future campaigns.
On the other end of the spectrum, the Stars can offer Dellandrea a bevy of knowledge in a number of veterans. Dallas in 2020-2021 is home to six separate players who have accrued over 700 NHL games played in their career.
Of those players, Dellandrea can learn from winger Andrew Cogliano, among others. At 33-years-old, Cogliano is one of forty-two active players to have logged over 1,000 NHL contests played. Joined by fellow teammate Joe Pavelski. While Dellandrea has spent the majority of his ice time in 2020-2021 at center, Rick Bowness mentioned above his ability to man the wing. An integral part of the third, physical FCC (Faksa-Comeau-Cogliano) line for the Dallas Stars Stanley Cup run in 2019-2020, Cogliano has enjoyed much of his NHL staying power to the same fierce, dogged play that Dellandrea has displayed to begin this season.
Keep your ears open and your eyes forward, Ty Dellandrea, the Victory Green faithful count you among their blessings in this early, ever-changing NHL season.