Few teams in the NHL are in bigger shambles than the
Dallas Stars, they have ownership problems, money problems but can they fix
things in time for the start of the 2011 season?
During the trade deadline last season the Stars decided
to hold on to impending free agent Brad Richards in the hope of making the
playoffs and making some extra cash. Instead, the Stars nosedived and then
watched Richards depart via free agency receiving no compensation.
The messy ownership situation has been a dark cloud over
the Stars and it doesn’t look to have an end in sight. Meanwhile, with the team
being up for sale, payrolls are being kept to a minimum, which isn’t good news
for a team that missed the playoffs while winning just 13 wins in their final
What they’ve got:
With Kari Lehtonen between the pipes, the Stars have an
above average goaltender to build around. Going forward, that’s going to be the
The Stars strengths come from the back end with Lehtonen
and a blue line that is underrated. Stephane Robidas, Nicklas Grossman, Trevor
Daley and Jamie Benn make up an excellent foursome that doesn’t get much
acclaim. If Alex Goligoski or Sheldon Souray can fill in the power play
quarterback roll, the Stars will be just fine along the blue line.
Dallas allowed just 233 goals this season, which is in
the middle of the pack in terms of the statistics, but look for the Stars to improve on that number as they
won’t keep up in shootouts.
What they need:
Plenty of scoring.
It’s not like the Stars were a high-scoring team to begin
with. Their power play ranked 14th in the NHL and that was with
Richards and James Neal in the lineup. That tandem contributed 49 goals.
Now the question is where does the scoring come from?
Jamie Benn had a breakout year, notching 22 goals and 56
points, and Loui Eriksson and Brendan Morrow are back, but the Stars managed
just 227 goals this season and let 49 of them walk away. That leaves the Stars
with just three players that finished with more than 32 points last season. The
only notable scoring addition was Michael Ryder, who had 41 points last season.
While the Stars definitely lack some offensive talent
upfront, they also lack superstar power, unlike the Bruins or the Flyers. There’s no one player anywhere on the
roster than can carry the team or excite the fans. That’s an issue as the Stars
are in a fairly depressing state right now. With ownership problems, the fans
are feeling down about the team. If they get off to bad start, there could be
plenty of empty seats throughout the season.
The Stars are in bad shape in every aspect.
Ownership is in flux, the front office is handcuffed and
the roster needs more help than their getting.
The signing window in free agency is practically over and
the Stars are under $50 million in spending with the cap sitting at just over
The good news is that they have the funds to improve the
team once the ownership situation is cleared up but until there is a new head
at the top of the tree, then the Stars will be stuck in limbo near the basement
of the Western Conference.