The Dallas Stars have been an up and down team over the last couple of seasons. The Stars have gone from a playoff team to a lottery team. This year the Stars are at 12-1 to win the Stanley Cup, according to Bovada. This puts Dallas in the same class as Chicago and behind only Edmonton, who are at 10-1, and Pittsburgh, 7-1.
Dallas has been given an over/under total of 43.5, according to BetOnline. This would be 9.5 more wins than the Stars finished last season. This would be a large jump from Dallas’s 11th place finish in the Western Conference last season.
Looking Back at the 2015-2016 Season
In 2015-2016 the Stars had one of their best seasons to date. They finished with 109 points in route to a first-place finish in the Western Conference. The Stars went on to beat the Minnesota Wild in the first round in six games. In the second round the St. Louis Blues would end up getting the best of Dallas in a seven-game series.
The Stars would be led by team captain Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin. They finished with 89 and 73 points at the end of the season. John Klingberg finished with his best year to date with 58 points -10 goals and 48 assists-.
Tyler Seguin, one of the Stars best players during the season, would only be able to play one game in the Stars 13 game playoff run.
The Stars split the season between Antti Niemi and Kari Lehtonen. Niemi would finish with 2.67 GAA and a .905 Save Percentage, while Lehtonen had a 2.76 GAA and a .906 Save Percentage. Neither goalie would finish top 20 in either stat. Goalies would be the Stars downfall in the playoffs as well. Neither goalie would have a save percentage greater than .899.
2016-2017 NHL Season
The Stars would once again be led by Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin in the 2016-2017 campaign. Benn finished with 69 points and Seguin with 72. Dallas would end the year with 79 points. This put them 11th place in the Western Conference.
Once again, the goaltender duties would be split between Niemi and Lehtonen. This year Niemi would have a 3.30 GAA and a .892 Save Percentage. Lehtonen finished with a 2.85 GAA and a .902 Save Percentage. Again, this year’s goaltending would be underwhelming and the downfall for the Stars in the end.
Dallas had a decent showing from Devin Shore, Radek Faksa and Brett Ritchie in their first complete season with the Stars. The Stars would need them to continue their growth if they want to have a successful 2016-2017 season.
Upcoming 2017-2018 Hockey Season
Dallas has added some talent over the offseason and are hoping to make it back to the playoffs this year.
The Stars added Alexander Radulov, Martin Hanzal and Tyler Pitlick through free agency to strengthen their already strong forward core. While the Stars forward have been strong over the last couple seasons, the defense and goaltenders have been a weakness for the Stars.
Marc Methot was added in a trade from Vegas to boost their defense. Methot is 32 years old and has been playing since the 2008-2009 season. He might not be able to push the Stars to the next level without some help. The Stars also added Finish defensemen Miro Heiskanen with the 3rd overall pick in the draft this season. He has been signed to his rookie contract, but it is unknown if he will start.
Finally, the biggest move that the Stars made this offseason is the addition of Ben Bishop. He spent last season with the Kings and the Lightning. He can finally give the Stars the goaltending boost that Dallas needs. Lehtonen has stayed on to act as back up, Niemi was bought out by Dallas and has moved on to Pittsburgh.
Dallas is in a division with St. Louis, Minnesota, Nashville, and Chicago. All four teams have made the playoffs three straight seasons. Chicago has been nine straight seasons, St. Louis has been six seasons, Minnesota has gone five seasons in a row and finally Nashville has been three straight years.
Three teams from Dallas’s division will go to the playoffs by winning the division and a max of two more can fill up the wild card spots. With Dallas being in arguably the best division in the NHL, it’ll be no walk in the park to earn a playoff position.
Save Your Money
The Stars have made huge transactions to move back into a position where they can be a highly considered playoff team. Even with the new additions, has Dallas made a strong enough change to put the team at the top of Stanley Cup contention?
The Stars defense is still unreliable and could create major problems for Bishop. This makes them a solid playoff team, but they are still a few moves away from being a Stanley Cup contender.