Last season – 1st in the Western Conference
GM – Jim Nill
Jim Nill put together a team good enough to win the Western Conference last year, even with the goaltending-situation he has created. They were also good enough to last 7 games against St. Louis in the second round. However, there was issues this off-season that weren’t adressed. Nill needs to make moves to make this team more solid defensively, if not they will not be able to go into a deep playoffs-run.
Head Coach – Lindy Ruff
Ruff coached them well enough last year, but like Nill, he needs to contribute to making the team more defensively stable. His style works brilliantly in the regular season with the group of guys he has, but has proven more deficient when it comes to the play-offs. That being said, Ruff will remain coach even if this season isn’t a success. Last year has given both him and Nill well-deserved job-security.
Jiri Hudler (LW, Dan Hamhuis (D), Lauri Korpikoski (LW), Nick Ebert (D),
5th round pick 2016
Jack Campbell (G), Alex Goligoski (D)
Re-signing Jamie Benn was the absolute must for the Stars. If they didn’t manage that, nothing else would have really mattered for them this summer. They also re-signed his brother Jordie Benn, the big defender Oleksiak and depth winger Eaves.
Their biggest outside additions would be complimentary player Jiri Hudler and defensive defenseman Dan Hamhuis, which both improves the depth the Stars need.
The signing of winger Lauri Korpikoski could be one of the gem-signings this season. The only offseason departure of substance is defenseman Alex Goligoski, who got traded away because they couldn’t agree on a contract.
Goaltending – 7/10
It’s amazing to give a team that has a total of 10 million tied up in their goaltenders just 7 out of 10, but the fact remains that neither Niemi nor Lehtonen should be starters for a team that seeks out to challenge for a cup. This is not money well spent at all for Dallas. Last year proved that this was a huge weakness for the team, and as much goals as they get out of Benn and Seguin, it’s just not going to be enough when they get to the play-offs. If they get to the play-offs, which I do think they will.
Defense – 8/10
A good first pairing, a solid second pairing and a decent third pairing. Klingberg is a great defenseman, but can sometimes get too sloppy. The steady play of Hamhuis should hopefully be able to help him. Klingberg will only get better, but at the moment he is not good enough to compensate for his flaws. Unlike his countrymen Erik Karlsson in Ottawa or Victor Hedman in Tampa , he is not a Norris-candidate just yet.
Hamhuis – Klingberg
Oduya – Johns
Jordie Benn – Nemeth
Forwards – 9/10
There are some small questions regarding depth, but the first two lines proved last year just how productive they are. This team will score plenty of goals, and Tyler Seguin will continue to prove that Peter Chiarelli and Cam Neely made one of the worst deals in history before Peter Chiarelli traded Taylor Hall for Adam Larsson. Jamie Benn is just pure class, while Sharp complements both players well and is a proven winner after his time in Chicago.
Benn – Seguin – Sharp
Hudler – Spezza – Hemsky
Roussel – Janmark – Ritchie
McKenzie – Faksa – Eaves
Team Composition – 8/10
They are good offensively, but very unreliable defensively. They can lead 5-0 after the first period, and be 7-5 down in the tird. That’s the kind of team the Dallas Stars were last year, and to be honest, it’s unlikely to change this year.
Leadership presence -8/10
Jamie Benn, Jason Spezza, Patrick Sharp and Dan Hamhuis will all be good leaders for Dallas this year. They have a good core-group in that sense, and Patrick Eaves should also be able to throw his input in here.
Skill Value – 9/10
With Seguin and Benn, coupled with Klingberg, you can’t really go lower than 9. You add on Sharp, Hudler and Spezza, the team has a good skill-level. The problem is that they rely too much on just pure skill, and they don’t focus on defensive assignments as well as they should. I think the team has what it takes to make it trough round 1 of the play-offs, but I can’t see them going deeper than the second round.