Meet The Rivals: Dallas Stars

Travis Hrubeniuk
September 20 2013 01:32AM

                  

Finally, after two long and rather ridiculous seasons that saw the Winnipeg Jets based out of the Southeast, the league has undergone re-alignment and have the team in a realistic division: The Central. All week I will provide a preview of the Jets new Divisional Rivals, giving you with a brief review of last years’ stats, each team's potential opening day lineup, strengths and weaknesses, and a few major storylines (both Jet and non-Jet related). Today we review the greatly changed Dallas Stars.

The Dallas Stars

Scheduled Meetings

  • October 11th – Winnipeg
  • October 26th – Dallas
  • December 14th – Winnipeg
  • March 16th – Winnipeg
  • March 24th – Dallas

2012-13 Review

 

Stars

Jets

Record (Point %)

22-22-4 (.500) – 11th in West

24-21-3 (.531) – 9th in East

Home/Away

11-11-2

11-11-2

13-10-1

11-11-2

Goals/Game

2.67 – 11th

2.62 – 16th

Goals Against/Game

2.94 – 24th

2.94 – 25th

Power play %

17.0% - 18th

13.8% - 30th

Pentalty Kill %

81.0% - 17th

79.7% - 24th

Fenwick Close %

47.25%

49.71%

5v5 Corsi For %

48.9%

49.5%

PDO

1012

995

Opening Day Projected Lineup:

Benn – Seguin – Cole
Whitney - Eakin - Nichushkin
Garbutt - Horcoff - Peverly
MacDermid - Fiddler - Ritchie / Roussel
 
Goligoski - Robidas
Dillon - Gonchar
Benn - Daley
 
Lehtonen
Ellis
 
Additions: Seguin, Peverley, Button, Horcoff, Ellis, Connauton
Subtractions: Morrow, Eriksson, Fraser, Smith, Nystrom

Strengths & Weaknesses

The Stars are a remarkably average team. They quite literally finished with an absolute .500 record, riding some puck luck to compensate for a sub-50% team-corsi. They finished around the middle of the pack in the majority of the major statistical categories as well. There is one major strength, and one major weakness that needs to be pointed out.

Offensive Output

After finishing 11th in the NHL with 2.67 goals for per game, the Stars added former second overall pick Tyler Seguin from the Bruins this offseason, further supplementing the offensive abilities of this team. Yes, the loss of Loui Eriksson will hurt, but bringing in defenseman Sergei Gonchar will add more scoring to the Stars' power play, and first round pick Valeri Nichushkin has NHL size and could be bringing NHL skill with it. The slowly regressing Shawn Horcoff should add depth at center, and Peverly is an effective 7th man with more offence than he showed in a defensive role in Boston.

The Defensemen

For as many goals as the Stars will likely score this season, their defensive group will struggle to help Kari Lehtonen in keeping the puck out of the net. Alex Goligoski has proven himself to be a solid defenseman since his move from Pittsburgh and Brendan Dillion has done well against challenging competition, but outside of them there are a lot of question marks around the Stars D-men. Trevor Daley is no more than a 2nd pairing defenseman and has probably hit his peak, Stephane Robidas is 36 years old, Sergei Gonchar is 39, and Jordie Benn has experienced very protected minutes with the Stars. Although the Stars may have experience on their blue line, injury and father time is sure to catch up with them and they will struggle with their limited defensive depth. They have to hope that they can out-score those problems if they want to make the playoffs.

Storylines Entering the Season

New Look Team

There’s a lot of new happening in Dallas right now. New logo, new jerseys (which I personally love), and most importantly a new coach in Lindy Ruff, and a new GM in Jim Nill. Nill came over after decades of experience in Detroit, and instantly put his stamp on this team (I wonder what that’s like?). Acquiring players Tyler Seguin (for his skill), Rich Peverley (for his two way play), and Shawn Horcoff (for added leadership and depth) change this team for the better. Nill and new owner Tom Gaglardi can hope it's enough to get them into the playoffs.

The Tyler Seguin Drama

Freshly removed from a crazed hockey market in Boston that watched his every move, a new start in a city like Dallas may be a welcomed scene for the young Seguin. Questions about his effort, consistency, commitment, and partying lifestyle led to Seguin's exit from the Bruins, and the trade might be the spark Tyler needs to take the next step. Upon his dismissal, more questions about Tyler’s inability to play physically, follow curfew (remember the ‘alarm clock issue’?), and find acceptance in the locker room really started to surface. National media will continue to cover it, but at least he'll have a reprieve at the grocery store. He goes from a supporting role in Boston to likely the top line center in Dallas and it will be his responsibility to prove that he is ready for it.

Can the Young Guns Shine?

It’s not just Tyler Seguin that needs to take a step. Jamie Benn is 24 and just signed a new contract, Cody Eakin is still young and is already with his second team, and first round pick Valeri Nichushkin is a mere 18 years old. These players will all be expected to put the puck in the net on a regular basis, but you can be sure there will be some growing pains along the way. The real question is how well this team can fight through those struggles, and if they can score enough for the team as a whole to be successful.

Conclusion

The Dallas Stars are a team that will be on the brink of the playoffs this year.  After years in a division with San Jose and Los Angeles, the Central won't be as much of an adjustment as it might be for the Jets. There are a lot of questions that need to be answered, but games against the Dallas Stars aren’t likely going to be what you expect from a Western Conference team. They will probably be some of the more exciting, high scoring games of the year. Jets fans will both love and hate to watch it 5 times this season.

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I write things, you read them. Then tend to yell at me for them. It's okay though, I'm from Winnipeg. I can take it. If you actually do like what I write, give me a twitter follow here (@thrubeniuk): https://twitter.com/thrubeniuk
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#1 Kevin McCartney
September 20 2013, 03:37PM
Trash it!
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This is another team I'm really excited to see. Apparently I have a thing for under-dogs.

I loved Eakin last year, and have barely watched Seguin for my hate for the Bruins. Plus Nichushkin... could be explosive.

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