Successful striker in North America: Tim Stützle has become a superstar in the NHL

After his Ottawa Senators’ last NHL game, Tim Stützle reacted in his typical way. Of course, the 21-year-old German ice hockey striker had scored again in the game against the Florida Panthers (5:2) – to the decisive 4:2. Nevertheless, he was highly critical of his performance: “The only good thing today were the face-offs,” he said. Otherwise he played terribly and moved badly.

His teammates, on the other hand, immediately put this impression into perspective. Brady Tkachuk, who also scored, said: “He just thinks he can go to the next level now. He’s so dominant on the ice and one of the main reasons we win.”

Which is even an understatement. Because the native of Viersen forms the foundation for the upward trend of the Canadian team with his performances. The fact that the senators – despite modest prospects – can still hope for participation in the play-offs is due to the young German.

Stützle has impressive statistics to show

The stats of Stützle are impressive. In this season, Stützle can already show 36 goals and 46 assists in 70 appearances – which means a total of 82 scorer points. His overall record is almost more impressive: In just his third year in the NHL, he has played over 200 games.

In almost all criteria relevant for an attacker, Stützle surpasses Leon Draisaitl when he reached the same mark years ago. And Draisaitl is currently the German fixture in the NHL. Even if he lacks the Stanley Cup, the man from Cologne is considered the best German ice hockey player of all time – he currently has 732 points in 631 games.

Especially the early years in the dazzling ice hockey league speak for Stützle. Draisaitl had already moved to North America as a 16-year-old and was able to show impressive offensive quotas in the junior league WHL. After promotion to the NHL, he initially had to take some criticism, was even sent to the second-rate AHL and back to the juniors to improve defensive work. Stützle, on the other hand, played in Germany until shortly after his 18th birthday, but was already one of the top performers in a men’s team for the Adler from Mannheim. He quickly took on the role given to him.

Stützle has signed a contract worth 66.8 million dollars

And while Draisaitl in Edmonton has Connor McDavid, perhaps the best ice hockey player at his side at the moment, in Ottawa it is primarily up to Stützle to get his colleagues involved. Coach DJ Smith said recently: “He’s a dynamic guy, loves to compete. I use it in all important game situations. And Tim always plays against the opponent’s strongest players. These are big challenges. But he survives every game.” It was almost logical that he signed the highest-paying contract in the club’s history ($66.8 million).

Stützle emphasizes that he is willing to learn from the best players in the league what makes them special. For example, McDavid’s constant goal threat, the creativity of Patrick Kane, who switched from Chicago to the New York Rangers in February, or the defensive qualities of Sebastian Aho (Carolina Hurricanes). If Stützle continues at this level, one day other up-and-coming ice hockey pros will probably talk about him in a similar way.

The only snag in this rapid development is the worsening prospects for the German Ice Hockey Federation (DEB) to have Stützle on board at a world championship. On the one hand, because the clubs don’t like to let professionals with this meaning go anyway. In addition, it should only be a matter of time before Stützle leads the Senators into the playoffs.

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Source: Tagesspiegel

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