The Dallas Stars surprised on the NHL odds last season and snuck into the playoffs. After a strong offseason, could they be a team on the rise in the Western Conference?
What Went Wrong Last Season?
The Stars decided to hire Lindy Ruff as head coach after he was let go from the Buffalo Sabres, and that turned out well. The plan was to depend on young stars like Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin to improve and it worked out pretty well as both proved to be stars. The tandem exploded to combine for 71 goals. Seguin, particularly was a surprise while Benn was arguably Team Canada’s best forward at the Olympics where they won gold. The Stars got the second wild-card spot to go into the playoffs as the eighth seed and they ended up giving the top seed from Anaheim some trouble, but they would bow out in six games.
Not a lot went wrong for the Stars; they were simply overmatched and not ready to play a team like the Ducks in the postseason but that is exactly what they needed. They were a young team that needed to learn lessons. They definitely did that with the Anaheim Ducks as they found out they simply weren’t good enough to compete with the big boys. That’s why they spent the offseason trying to add to a quality roster.
The Stars beefed up their offense to take some of the pressure off Benn and Seguin by trading for Jason Spezza, who will be an excellent facilitator for those big snipers. The Stars also picked up Ales Hemsky, who has also excels in assisting scorers. Anders Lindback was signed for compete with Kari Lehtonen in goal – or at least give him a little break as Lehtonen started 64 games in the regular season and all six in the postseason. It would have been nice for the Stars to get some help on the blue line but hopefully, the players they have back there will improve. The major offseason focus was to beef up the depth up front and they did that.
Offensively, the Stars have the firepower to compete with the likes of the Los Angeles Kings, Chicago Blackhawks and St. Louis Blues, and if Seguin and Benn even replicate what they did last year, the Stars should be a top-five-to-10 team in goals scored. While scoring shouldn’t be a problem for Dallas, the other end of the ice just might be. The defense has to prove they can support the offensive stars because this is a relatively non-descript unit.
With a smart head coach, a solid roster of forwards and a decent goaltender, the Stars can expect to be back in the playoffs and likely higher than eighth. Whether develop into a serious power player in the Western Conference is mostly contingent on whether they’re blue line can do the trick. The answer to that question looks like a ‘no’ right now, so take them on your NHL picks accordingly
NHL Pick: Will Make The Playoffs And Be Eliminated In The First Round