Dallas Stars Forwards Review: Dallas saw Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin improve their numbers dramatically last season. Valeri Nichushkin suffered a hip injury and groin injury which put him on injured reserve fairly early last season. Dallas will do much better with all 3 at full health.
Dallas traded for Patrick Sharp. Sharp regressed in 2014-2015. In 2013-2014, Sharp led the Blackhawks with 78 points and was the only line 1 player next to Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane to play all 82 games. If Sharp performs that well again on the second line in Dallas, then this will be a playoff team regardless of how the defense plays. Sharp will be playing next to Jason Spezza and Ales Hemsky on the second line.
Antoine Roussel struggled on the second line as a line 2 left winger. His experience on the second line will allow him to improve on the third line this upcoming season. Cody Eakin was very effective and surprised many as a line 3 center. Patrick Eaves also showed ability to play on the third line.
The fourth line is the weakest line. Vernon Fiddler is the top player on this line. Travis Moen is aging and expendable. Colton Sceivour struggled at right wing last season. Brett Ritchie a prospect on the Texas Stars saw some time in Dallas. Ritchie is aiming for Sceivour's job on the fourth line.
Dallas was second in the NHL in goals scored. The Stars scored more goals than any team in the Western Conference and they finished 12th on the power play in 2014-2015. The offense on the first three lines looks a lot better so it would be a huge let down if the offense didn't maintain such a high level play.
Dallas has prospects on the defending Calder Cup Champion Texas Stars that will want NHL time if Dallas performs poorly. Bad team chemistry on the top two lines could decide whether Dallas misses the post-season, or gets back to the playoffs and wins a series.
Dallas Stars Defensive Lines
Dallas Stars Defense Review Dallas had a complete mess on defense. The emergence of John Klingberg makes Dallas better on defense. Goligoski will do better as the #2 defenseman on line 1.
Dallas has one good line of defense. Jason Demers emerged and Jordie Benn has never lived up to his name in Dallas. Johnny Oduya and Jyrki Jokipakka will play on the third line.
Dallas had Sergei Gonchar, Jokipakka, Jamie Oleksiak, and all different kinds of players on the third line. Nobody stepped up last season. I expect the Stars to have a dominant line 1 with some slight improvements on the second and third lines. I still expect this to be one of the worst defenses in the NHL.
In 2014-2015, Dallas was 27th in goals allowed and 19th in penalty killing. This season I think the Stars will be a top 25 team in goals allowed probably ranked 25-21 in goals allowed among NHL Teams. I think the Stars' penalty killing unit will rank 15-11 among NHL teams. Dallas will be better, but I'm not sure if that will be good enough to get them into the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Draft Utopia Between The Pipes Goalie Tracker
Goals Against Average
Goals Against Average
Dallas Stars Goaltender Review Kari Lehtonen did well in 2013-2014, but he regressed a lot in 2014-2015. Dallas got Antti Niemi in a trade with the San Jose Sharks at the 2015 NHL Entry Draft. All the Stars had to do was surrender a seventh round pick. Niemi has better numbers than Lehtonen so having him on the team as insurance gives Lehtonen a very short leash if he screws up.
One thing Dallas severely lacked was a quality backup goalie that could challenge Lehtonen for his job. That's exactly what Niemi will do this season after previously starting for the San Jose Sharks and the 2009-2010 Chicago Blackhawks. Niemi has won a Stanley Cup before even though he's a backup goalie now.
Dallas Stars Prospect Pool: Dallas has a few quality prospects on the wing. Brett Ritchie and Denis Gurianov are two quality right wing prospects.
Dallas also has four defensemen in Julius Honka, Stephen Jones, Jamie Oleksiak, and Patrik Nemeth. Some of these guys belong on the Texas Stars in the AHL. At the same time, it still feels pretty rewarding knowing you got four AHL prospects that can step up if necessary.
Dallas Stars 2015-2016 Prediction
I don't expect Dallas to improve, but I also don't expect them to get worse. As a Stars fan I want this team to either have a top 5 pick or be in the hunt for the Stanley Cup. Dallas usually gets stuck in the middle and still finds a way to miss the playoffs.
I'm hoping that changes soon, but I don't expect things to change. I have Anaheim, Calgary, and Los Angeles as my 3 Pacific playoff teams. I guess the final wild card will come down to Dallas or Edmonton since I moved Vancouver out of my playoff picture. I guess I will give my Stars Vancouver's playoff spot.
Click the link below to get information on Dallas's AHL partner, the Texas Stars.