Steve Ott will turn 28 this summer.
That means the four-year contract extension he signed for $11.8 million will come at the prime of his career.
And if the last month is any indication, Ott's prime could be pretty good.
Ott has eight goals and two assists over the past 14 games and came up with his first career hat trick Wednesday night in a 5-1 win over the Western Conference-leading San Jose Sharks.
It was a typical Ott game in a lot of ways. He was yapping and agitating and took a boarding penalty in the second period. But he also scored short-handed on a pure hustle play and drove the net like a demon, scoring twice on tap-ins at the net off of great passes from Brian Sutherby and James Neal.
"It's amazing how much hard work can pay off,'' Stars goalie Marty Turco said. ``He got put in some great positions too by our other guys making great passes and great plays all around the ice. He was a big beneficiary of what guys did out there tonight, but certainly you've still got to put the puck in the net, and he's been playing some pretty good hockey."
Linemate Brian Sutherby, who took a monster hit from Douglas Murray to set up Ott's second goal said: ``He's agitating and he's creating energy, and we kind of feed off of that,'' said linemate Sutherby. ``It's been fun.''
Ott credited Sutherby and Neal with great passes to set up his goals and said he would have been upset had he not scored on the Sutherby pass.
"It's obviously a fun night. It definitely puts a big smile on my face,'' Ott said. ``But I think I was more proud of the sacrifice of my teammates. I mean, that second goal, Sutherby got demolished. He made a play to me that he knew he was going to get hit. He knew he was in the tracks, and he slid over a great pass and I ended up tapping it in. It was pretty easy. If I didn't score that, I would have been pretty upset with myself, because of the sacrifice he made on the play."
Turco, who had 29 saves, said he felt good: "I did fine. It's beneficial to play loose, and not have to worry about too much and have any extra stress, and the guys have been playing a lot better maybe for that reason. Personally, I felt all right. I got some breaks, and my stick got in the way a few times of some scary moments there in the game. We'll take this two points and keep plugging along."
The Stars staved off elimination. Colorado lost, so the Stars are seven points back with five games remaining.
"We've got a lot of pride in this dressing room,'' Ott said. ``We might not make the playoffs here, or it's pretty unrealistic right now, but to finish with character and finish with pride, I think means more than anything. And to go out there and give the fans a good showing, show the people how much character and heart we have in here, and build on that with all of the youth that we have here, I think is the important thing we take the rest of the way."
There was a lot to like about this win, and it came before a pretty full house (announced at 17,263), so maybe the sport isn't dead yet in Texas. The Sharks were coming off a four-game winning streak and looked awful, and coach Todd McLellan was not happy. The Sharks had to really fight to get out of an 0-5-1 slump a week back, and McLellan said they have not learned the hard lessons from that.
``We just spent six games in (dumps) and we come out and play like this...It's unacceptable, very uninspired,'' he said.
Loui Eriksson stretched his team-best goal total to 29 and Brad Richards pushed his point total to 87. His career best is 91.