5 things we learned in the NHL: Leafs’ Dermott earning himself bigger role


Toronto Maple Leafs' Travis Dermott celebrates his goal. (Chris Young/CP)

The flood gates opened in Winnipeg, Paul Stastny continued to impress in Las Vegas, while Toronto Maple Leafs defenceman Travis Dermott showed enough to warrant a greater role.

Here are five things we learned in the NHL on Saturday night.

Jets take full-flight in first

If you were late to tune in to the Winnipeg Jets game against the Anaheim Ducks on Saturday, you pretty much missed it.

While the Jets ended up winning 9-3, the game was essentially over after the first period. Led by Jack Roslovic’s two opening-frame tallies, Winnipeg set a franchise record for most goals in a period by lighting up a helpless John Gibson six times in the first.

Gibson, who was replaced with Chad Johnson to begin the second, stopped just eight of 14 shots he faced. According to Natural Stat Trick, the Jets had 10 scoring chances in the opening frame compared to Anaheim’s four (and five high-danger scoring chances to one).

Brendan Lemieux’s seventh goal of the season at the 17:41 mark of the first period capped off an opening-frame onslaught in which Winnipeg surprisingly became the second team this season to score six in a period, joining the Colorado Avalanche.

Also, we’re here all day for stretch passes like this one from defenceman Jacob Trouba.

The nine goals scored by Winnipeg also set a franchise record for most goals scored in a home game, and tied the franchise record for most goals scored in a game.

Stastny gamble paying off early in Vegas

When the Vegas Golden Knights elected to sign a then-32-year-old Paul Stastny to a three-year contract with a cap-hit of $6.5 million, it raised a few eyebrows around the league.

But after missing the first 30 games of the season with a lower-body injury, the 33-year-old looks rejuvenated in Vegas, notching assists in seven consecutive games for the first time in his 13-year NHL career. In 24 games this season, Stastny has almost been a point-per-game player, registering six goals and 14 assists.

It’s probably not a coincidence that after starting the season 18-14-2, the Golden Knights have gone 12-6-3 in 21 games since Stastny returned to the lineup.

Ken Holland passes Jack Adams in Red Wings folklore

Jonathan Bernier backstopped the Red Wings to a 2-0 shutout over the Ottawa Senators Saturday night, and with his 914th career regular-season win as a general manager, Detroit’s Ken Holland passed Jack Adams for most wins in franchise history.

While his team has struggled this season in a rebuilding year, Holland has gained a reputation as one of the most successful general managers in the NHL. Under his leadership, the Red Wings have won the Presidents’ Trophy four times, three Stanley Cups, while winning more regular-season games (789) and post-season games (118) than any other NHL team during that span.

Dermott earning himself bigger role on Maple Leafs’ defence

On a night where he scored his fourth goal and added his 12th assist of the season, Maple Leafs’ Travis Dermott played just 15:51, the least amount of ice-time among Maple Leafs’ defenders.

And this wasn’t just a one-off instance.

The 22-year-old has averaged less ice-time this season out of all Maple Leafs’ defenders who dressed Saturday night, even though he possesses stronger underlying numbers.

Despite being paired with rookie defenceman Igor Ozhiganov for most of the year, Dermott has led all Maple Leafs skaters in Corsi-for percentage (55.0) since the start of the season. He also has the third-most takeaways among Leafs’ defenders and the fifth-fewest giveaways.

On Saturday night, in addition to his two points, Dermott put up a 58.82 CF%, trailing only Jake Muzzin and Morgan Rielly on the Maple Leafs’ back end. He also had a 40 per cent offensive zone shift start, meaning he was put onto the ice for most of his shifts in the neutral or defensive end — the lowest rate on the Maple Leafs’ defence.

The goal he scored, by the way, came off an offensive-zone start.

With Muzzin’s addition, it appeared Hainsey would be pushed down the lineup. So far, though, the 37-year-old has continued to eat minutes on Babcock’s defence. Although Toronto took just one penalty, Hainsey and Zaitsev led all Maple Leafs skaters in time-on-ice Saturday, and with Dermott playing the way he has, it’s probably fair to ask the question:

Seguin, Dallas finally getting the message

As Sportsnet’s Rory Boylen outlined in his piece on the ongoing roller-coaster dilemma in Dallas, there was serious turmoil within the Stars organization.

Well, it appears the Stars have finally got the message.

In what could end up being a first-round playoff preview, Tyler Seguin scored a goal in his fourth consecutive game and the Stars held off the Nashville Predators for, coincidentally, their fourth straight win.

Since being publicly called out by Stars CEO Jim Lites on Dec. 28, Seguin has taken his game to another level, scoring 10 times and adding six assists in 14 contests.

Dallas currently sits third in the Central Division, and if they continue to receive solid goaltending and strong play from their core players, the Stars are talented enough to make for a serious dark horse during the second half of the season.

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