DALLAS—Four games into his NHL career, Mattias Janmark has accomplished something no one else has for the Dallas Stars, get points in his first four NHL games.
On Thursday at the Tampa Bay Lightning, Janmark, 22, had an assist in a 5-3 Dallas win against the Bolts. That helper gave him two goals and two assists since his Oct. 8 NHL debut.
“It’s been fairly good. You get that first goal early in the first game. That’s something you can’t wish for really and that helps you a lot like releasing nerves and everything,” Janmark said. “Then you get the same start in the second game on the road, so it definitely helps you but I think I can improve on some areas of the game. I hope to just keep my best up and improve on the areas I have to improve on.”
In his league debut, Janmark, who came to the Stars via the March 1 trade which sent Erik Cole to the Detroit Red Wings, scored his first career goal just 1:39 into the game and on his first shift. Janmark’s initial tally ended up being the game-winner as the Stars blanked the Pens, 3-0.
“Yeah, I thought the team played a great game. It’s a special game, your NHL debut on home ice in the season opener against Pittsburgh with Crosby and Malkin. To score the game-winning goal, it’s pretty special,” Janmark said.
Thus far, he has skated on the Stars’ third and fourth line. In Janmark’s debut, he was centering the fourth line but has recently been moved up to the third line, where he plays on the left side alongside center Vern Fiddler and right winger Travis Moen.
But no matter who he’s skated with or the position he’s played, the results have been the same, something Stars head coach Lindy Ruff is quite ecstatic about.
“He’s been responsible defensively. He’s pushed me into some decisions,” Ruff said. “Offensively he’s been in on some good opportunities. He’s had one or two a game and he’s finished two of them. I think that’s all you can ask for. He’s been light on the minutes, but he’s been good with the production.”
Janmark is still fairly new to the Stars organization after coming over from Detroit in the spring, but having two fellow Swedes already in the NHL in current Dallas defensemen John Klingberg and Patrik Nemeth, who he knows well, has definitely helped ease his transition.
“They were already on the NHL team, so that makes it easier for you to have someone to talk to and makes it easier to fit in with the group here. You feel a bit more comfortable off the ice and that kind of goes along with on the ice. That helps you a lot,” Janmark said.
But one thing he hasn’t done thus far is endure any rookie rites of passage. Should he experience that at some point this season, he won’t let it get to him, especially since he views the whole process as integral to paying his dues with his veteran teammates.