The Mavs Mailbag is back! We always enjoy hearing from the Orange Army so we’re excited to get these bad boys rolling again. Twenter and I have teamed up to tackle some of your biggest questions. We’ve got all the answers below, and if we don’t have the answers, we try to make it sound like we have the answers. You be the judge. Let’s do this.
Going forward, and probably hard to tell given only a few games, what do you see this team’s strength being? (Matt Talley)
JSD built this team with an incredible amount of depth; especially on the blue line. Add in the prospects sent down by Stockton, and the Mavs are an incredibly deep team. Some of that will change as moves will be made to get the roster numbers where they need to be, but this team isn’t set up to have to make desperate moves due to injuries and call-ups this year. -Twenter
What do the Mavs need to do differently this season to make a deep playoff push as compared to seasons past? (John Colle)
Outside of the obvious “stay healthy,” the biggest challenge is staying consistent. Last year’s squad was incredibly inconsistent, often played to the level of their competition, which cost them numerous points in the standings, which affected their playoff seeding and matchup. Inconsistency can snowball into bigger problems and we’ve seen that firsthand. - Joe
How does this year's team differ from last year's team so far? (Mackenzie Ward)
The biggest differences are size and speed. The Mavs have some big bodies this season that they’ve lacked in years past. Also, we’ve had some fast teams in the past, but some of the new additions create matchup nightmares for the opposition due to their skating ability. - Joe
What are you most excited about this season? (Stacy Beam)
I am most excited about the re-tooled defensive unit. I know defensive battles don’t always make for the most entertaining hockey, but playing sound defensive hockey is what leads to season-long and postseason success. Think back to the Governor’s Cup and Brabham Cup Champion teams of the past. What was one thing they had in common? Answer: sound goaltending and shutdown defensemen. The early reviews on Nick Schneider are beyond promising. The defense is still working out the kinks, but once they do, this team will be tough to score on and will win a lot of close games. -Joe
Who do you see being our long term goalies this season? (Billy D)
This is a tough one because there is so much that is out of the Mavs control. Any kind of injury or trade in Calgary or Stockton will have a ripple effect down to the Mavs, something that we’re all too familiar with. The big question is what will happen in Stockton when Gillies and Parsons are both 100%. Will they continue to carry three goalies? I doubt it. Take all roster shuffling out of the question and I think we’ll likely see what we have now in Schneider and Hayden Hawkey, with the possibility of Parsons seeing some time in KC as well. - Joe
We controlled the front of the net against Tulsa on Friday. Was that a one night occurrence, or do you believe this team has the specific skill and mindset for this to be a theme for our offense all season? (Cody Smith)
That is a hallmark of John-Scott Dickson coached teams. His teams pride themselves on getting goals in the dirty areas and JSD has shown over the years that his players will either play that type of game or they won’t play. I wouldn’t expect that to change at all this season. Their game is to wear down the opposition with speed and a physical presence in front of the net; that creates opportunities headed the other way as the forwards break out with the backchecking forwards for the opposition tied up down low by the Mavs defensemen. This is all predicated on defensemen that have great vision up the ice and can get the puck moving north and south quickly out of the zone and through the neutral zone. The Mavericks then crash the net and look for rebounds off of shots from the point or from the corners coming through the slot and net-front areas. -Twenter
They tied last season - Which Dziurzynski brother finishes with more points this season? (Jason)
That’s a tough one. Both brothers bring a different set of skills to the ice. DZ22 is more of a physical presence in front and creates chances off of feeds and rebounds. DZ7 is more of a pure scorer and creates a lot of opportunities on the breakout and in transition. With both of them getting significant minutes on the powerplay, it’s a tough call, but my gut says DZ7 will show big brother how it’s done this season. He receives a lot of opportunities on the left dot when the powerplay unit hits the ice; think Ovechkin’s normal spot on the ice for the Capitals. - Twenter
Which player has made the biggest contributions to the team as a whole so far in the early parts of the season? (Jordan Donegan)
That’s a tough one through only a few games and a roster that still has a lot of moving parts. However, a couple of guys that have stuck out early on have been Jack Walker and Ryan Van Stralen. Walker brings elite level speed and if you’re an opposing defensemen, you had better get a body on him in his first two strides or you’re in a bad spot defensively in a hurry. His first two strides are as good as we’ve ever seen on this team; he reminds me of a guy like Tanner Fritz as far as speed that will take him as far as he wants to go.
Van Stralen was a guy that intrigued me when he signed with the Mavs. He brings a tough, gritty game that we saw when he played with Wichita. He is a JSD type player and brings a consistent physical presence with a knack for finding twine at opportune times. He skates well and is a solid two-way forward in the mold of Rocco Carzo. -Twenter
What does our hometown kid from Omaha, @ryangalt21 add to this team? (Kevin Neubauer)
Grit, speed, a high motor, above-average in the faceoff dot, and a guy who works hard every shift. - Joe
Would like to see us play Rapid City more, do you know why we play them so few times? (Adam Stilley)
ECHL scheduling can seem like a mystery sometimes. There are a lot of factors that go into it, with travel costs probably being the biggest consideration. The league does its best to try and keep the lodging and travel costs to a reasonable amount for teams by scheduling road games in groupings that make sense. You’ll notice that a lot of times when the Mavericks travel for just one road game it is normally to Tulsa or Wichita because there isn’t a hotel expense involved in those games. For the Mavs to play Rapid City, they probably need a series with Idaho on the same trip and that scheduling matrix gets fuzzy in a hurry. -Twenter
Thanks to all those who submitted questions. As always, you can hit us up on Twitter (Joe - @MavsInsiderJoe, Twenter - @MavsInsiderAdam) with your questions. Congrats to Stacy Beam who is the winner of two center ice tickets to a future Mavs game.
The Mavs are back at it as they return home for a two-game set with Toledo Friday & Saturday night at the Silverstein Eye Centers Arena. Be sure to tune into the Mavs Insiders Pregame Show each night at 6pm, live on the Mavs app. We’ll get you ready for a big-time matchup with the Walleye, a great early season test for the Mavs.