It feels like it has been eons since the Dallas Stars fell to the Tampa Bay Lightning in six games in the Stanley Cup Finals. As the Lightning have hoisted another Cup from Lord Stanley since then, the Stars have been battered, bruised, and limping away without a playoff appearance in 2021. Without the relentless beating of the playoffs, have the Stars been able to patch their wounds? Can the up-and-coming youth paired with the postseason-accomplished veterans have the Dallas Stars loyalists singing “Puck Off” by Pantera into the playoffs? During this preview, we will take a glance at who will be the contributors to a successful Dallas Stars season.
2020-2021 Dallas Stars Season Recap
Looking back on 2020 is difficult for the most serious of rubberneckers. Even so, the Dallas Stars season gave no reason to tempt the action. Don’t get me wrong, the hand they were dealt was seriously unfortunate. For instance, snow storms in north Texas, plus a heavy dose of COVID, the Stars had plenty of stretches that needed to be made up within short windows.
Tyler Seguin essentially missed the entire season (3 total games played). In addition, the local Frisco, Texas high school product Ben Bishop didn’t even touch the ice.
Keeping pace in a Central division with the lauded Tampa Bay Lightning would have been a chore in and of itself. All in all, the Stars never really got their skates underneath them. Now they look towards the 2021-2022 season, with the last one in the rearview mirror, which has been pulled from the glass and left shattered on the highway.
Dallas Stars: Attacking Front Lines
According to the Daily Faceoff, here are the projected lines:
First Line – Roope Hintz, Joe Pavelski, Jason Robertson
Second Line – Jamie Benn, Tyler Seguin, Alexander Radulov
Third line – Joel Kiviranta, Radek Faksa, Denis Gurianov
Fourth Line – Michael Raffle, Luke Glendening, Blake Comeau
At initial glance, the first and second line should do a swift reversal. After the do-si-do last season’s lines saw, this lands on accepting eyes. The consistency this line showed was impressive. The growth of Robertson and the health of Roope Hintz will be the true determining factors here.
As for the second line, this is what the Stars faithful have been seeing for years. Not to beat a point to death, but I’ll have to say it again and again with this team. Health, health, oh and a pinch of more health. If that is unobtainable, then individuals from the third line may be making their way in. The massive stick of Gurianov paired with the understated abilities of Kiviranta and Faksa could be lethal.
Dallas Stars: Defense and Goaltending
The Daily Faceoff presents these defensive pairings:
Ryan Sutter and Miro Heiskanen
Esa Lindell and John Klingberg
Andrej Sekera and Jani Hakanpaa
Goalies – Anton Khudobin, Ben Bishop, and Braden Holtby
The Stars biggest acquisition, Ryan Sutter, is immediately paired with the newly-extended phenom Miro Heiskanen, giving the Victory Green two lines of potent defense. This addition also allows the Stars to split up their point scoring defensive duo, Heiskanen and Klingberg, with confidence.
Esa Lindell and John Klingberg may be the best second defensive line in the NHL. Heck, they could easily be many team’s first. These gentlemen may not have to produce as many points anymore. However, the threat they have already established with placing pucks in the net should open the ice beautifully.
The net keepers have been one of the main stories for the Stars, even through their Stanley Cup Finals push. Ben Bishop has found it difficult to be a reliable goaltender the last few years. Maybe due to that, the Stars have embraced the two goalie rotations of Bishop and Khudobin. The addition of Braden Holtby (former Stanley Cup Champ) only proves their willingness to do so, even with Bishop’s health still a concern. Riding the hot hand has proven to be risky at some points. But as we all know, if you can find that hot hand in the playoffs, it can mask many flaws (see their last Stanley Cup run).
With the final stomp on the dead horse, if they stay healthy, the Stars could prove a great bet to ruffle some favorite’s feathers. They have done a magnificent job replacing players lost and clearly magnify the attention on their win now mentality. Moreover, the front office of the Victory Green have placed their chips on Rick Bowness. The burden Bowness bears is proving his utilization of a roster that has shown what it is capable of.
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