Cedar Park, TX – Texas Stars chatter right now centers around new arrivals Jack Campbell and Austin Smith, giving this morally depressed fan base something else to think about.
Mired in last place in the West Division and, according to Hundred Degree Hockey, on a franchise-worst five game losing streak, the fans are understandably interested in all things new and/or improved.
Yet ‘new’ does not by default ‘improve’. If Stars fans seek a more concrete, proven reason to have hope, I submit one Scott Glennie.
In the draft history of the Dallas Stars (excluding the Minnesota years), only one player has gone higher than the former Brandon Wheat King, who went 8th overall in 2009. That player was … drum roll … Richard Jackman in 1996. In fact, Dallas has a poor track record in the first round (Martin Vagner, anyone?) with Jarome Iginla, Brendan Morrow and Steve Ott exceptions rather than rules.
Glennie will be one of those exceptions.
Granted, he was unexceptional in the first two months of his pro hockey career. October and November, for all his in-game impact he could have worked concessions at the Cedar Park Center.
Then, coach Jeff Pyle moved him to right wing on a line with veterans Francis Wathier and Colton Sceviour. When looking back on Glennie’s successful NHL career years from now, no one will recount this seemingly minor decision, and that will be too bad because it has made all the difference.
Dubbed the Swagger line by reporter Stephen Meserve, it is the team’s most consistent line. All three players are among the team’s top five scorers and the trio are versatile enough to lead, shut down, forecheck, and act as the second power play unit. The way that Wathier and Sceviour – veteran two-way forwards having the best seasons of their pro careers – are exerting their influence on Glennie’s game, goes to the heart of what it means to be in the American Hockey League.
Wathier and Sceviour, in their own ways, embody a quote by former Dallas Stars coach and GM Bob Gainey:
“There’s a lot of dirty work to be done if you’re going to win any hockey game, and I’m one of the guys who goes out and does it.”
Among other things, they’ve instilled Glennie’s game with more than a helping or two of much-needed grit.
Yet to some, he may still seem unexceptional. Through 60 games this season, he has 35 points (12 goals, 23 assists). But that’s misleading because he picked up just sixpoints (2,4) through his first 17 games, and has 29 (10, 19) in the 43 since.
Glennie’s skating style belies his size. Off-ice he’s clearly the published 6’1″ 190 lbs. On-ice, he seems smaller. Offensively he skates in a pronounced crouch, a predatory position that gives him a low center of gravity and the mechanics to snap home a rebound on instinct. He uses clipped, quick strides to gain unexpectedly explosive speed. The opposition learns too late that Glennie has one more gear than most and when he throws it, he’s gone.
As such, he’s one of those rare guys who can, with hostility, take over and dominate a shift. He just needs to do it more often.
Although he has a great shot (and with just 98 shots on the season, he should shoot more) as a passer Glennie can dazzle. He finds passing lanes that didn’t exist before the puck leaves his stick and close up right behind it. Watch him in the clip below (second highlight, #15 in black) show tremendous poise, vision, and flat-out skills in finding Matt Fraser trailing down the far side. (Thanks to the Charlotte Checkers for including this highlight in their post-game video):
In a season that has produced much more disappointments and let-downs than any Stars fan could have expected, Glennie is the light at the end of the tunnel, the glimmering All-Star on the hill next fall.
Actually, he’ll probably make Dallas in the fall.
So… how ’bout that Jack Campbell?!
Dallas Stars Insider profile of Glennie