The Dallas Stars look like a team on the rise in the Western Conference. Although they’re not likely to contend for a Stanley Cup next season, they’re definitely going to be a sneaky-good bet.
They’ve made some quality offseason moves capped off by the extension to Antoine Roussell on Wednesday. He’s a key glue guy that will continue to help this team in the 2014-15 season.
Stars Extend Roussel
The Stars avoided arbitration with Roussel by giving him a four-year, $8 million contract extension and on the surface, it doesn’t seem like a significant move. But Roussel is an important blue collar worker for the Stars and the only player in the NHL who registered more than 25 points and 150 penalty minutes last season. He posted career highs in goals (14), assists (15), points (29) and penalty minutes (209). He’s a third-line grinder and the type of guy you need if you’re going to make a Stanley Cup run. With the Stars top two lines in great shape, Roussel is a key cog on the third line of a team that’s shaping up to be quite deep up front.
Offseason Additions Focus On Offense
The Stars have had a pretty good offseason as they’ve added a couple of playmaking veterans to a talented young core. The Stars traded for Jason Spezza, formerly of the Ottawa Senators, and signed away Ales Hemsky from the Edmonton Oilers. These guys are both playmakers and do a great job of setting up scoring. That’s perfect for the Stars as they have plenty of snipers already with 30-goal scorers like Tyler Seguin and Jamie Benn in the rotation. The Stars were 11th in scoring last season and should only get better in 2014-15. This is a team that will now boast a top-six of Seguin, Benn, Spezza, Hemsky, Valeri Nichushkin, possibly Erik Cole and Rich Peverley – if he’s healthy. They also have Cody Eakin, who was fourth on the team in scoring with 35 points.
The Stars are very balanced throughout the lineup as nine different players had 30 or more points the story should be the same in 2014-15.
How To Bet The News
Dallas looks like they’ll be a great bet in the early part of the season for a couple of reasons. From a moneyline perspective, they are going to be a bit underrated. They’re still viewed as a lower-tier team in the Western Conference and while in truth they are, that’s more of a compliment to how deep the West is than a diss to how bad the Stars are. This is a very good team.
Their main issue is going to be defense and goaltending. They’re weak in that regard as Kari Lehtonen is modestly above average between the pipes and there’s no real shutdown blueliner on this team. I expect this team to be one of the better over bets next season.
As far as futures NHL betting picks go, I think the Stars are definitely a playoff team in the West now but they’re not a Cup contender just yet. If they can add a couple of stud defensemen, that’ll change but right now, this team is going to finish somewhere between sixth and eight in the conference.