One of my favourite t-shirts as a kid was a Dallas Stars 1999 Stanley Cup Champions shirt. There’s a birthday photo of me somewhere as a 10-year-old (or thereabouts) wearing it.
So for that reason, I’ve always felt a certain kinship with the Dallas Stars.
Isn’t it amazing how I have a childhood memory for most of these previews so far?
Jamie Benn (LW) – Benn put up 69 points last season, which was low by his standard. In his previous three seasons, he never went below 79 points. If he gets his shot total back up around 250, he could be in line for a bounce back season.
Tyler Seguin (C) – Who would’ve thought the Dallas Stars would be the ultimate winners of the Phil Kessel trade between Toronto and Boston? Seguin has at least 72 points in his 4 seasons with Dallas. He should be a lock for that again.
Alexander Radulov (RW) – He returned to the NHL last season with Montreal and had a respectable season – 18 goals, 36 assists. He figures to slot in on the top line and could be in for a great season.
Jason Spezza (C) – I’ve always been a fan of his, even when he was in Ottawa. His career is on the decline, but I felt like mentioning him.
Notable – Martin Hanzal (C), Devin Shore (C), Mattias Janmark (C/LW)
John Klingberg (25) – He’s established himself as one of the best offensive defenseman in the NHL, with the ability to put up 50 points this season.
Marc Methot (32) – A shutdown defenseman who is a great acquisition to a team that allowed the second most goals in the NHL last season.
Jamie Oleksiak (24) – He is Penny Oleksiak’s brother.
Notable – Stephen Johns (25), Dan Hamhuis (34)
Ben Bishop (30) – He is 6’7, which means he can block the net more than you can. This is a huge upgrade for a team who’s achilles heel has been their goaltending for a long time.
Kari Lehtonen (33) – This will be his 9th season in Dallas and it looks like he will be the backup goalie. This is the best role for him. You can trust him as a starter.
1. Dallas has missed the playoffs in 7 of the last 9 seasons. In the 14 seasons before that, they only missed the playoffs twice.
2. Their Penalty Kill was the worst in the NHL last season at 73.9%.
3. You can go to a game for as low as $15.
4. Dallas goaltenders combined for a .893 Save % last season. Worst in the league.
5. Ken Hitchcock is back behind the bench as the head coach. He was the head coach when they won the Stanley Cup in 1999.
WHAT CHRIS THINKS
Dallas has made some interesting moves, they have solidified their goaltending and have an exciting but unlikable offensive group. I like the addition of Hitchcock behind the bench. They should make the playoffs, but they aren’t there just yet. I give them 3 Jason Spezza’s laughing out of 5.
LAST MINUTE OF PLAY
The Dallas Stars have some high-end talent up front with Seguin and Benn, and Klingberg on the blue line. Their depth worries me. I’m not sure Hanzal and Spezza are going to be as good this season as the Stars hope they are.
Radulov is a nice addition, but this team needs young depth, not aging depth.
If Seguin or Benn get hurt, who’s going to score on this team?
Their goaltending is better with the addition of Bishop and he’ll bail them out of many penalty kill situations, but will it be enough to make the playoffs? I don’t know.
That being said, Ken Hitchcock is a winner. He’s only missed the playoffs 3 times (doesn’t include the team’s he was fired from mid-season) in 21 years as a head coach.
I say they’ll be in a battle for a Wild Card spot in the West.
ONE BOLD PREDICTION
Mattias Janmark will score 20 goals this season.