As October creeps closer, another NHL season creeps with it.
In the eighth of a series of team-by-team summer reviews and season previews, here’s a glimpse at the …
A year after taking the Central Division and advancing to the second round of the postseason under Lindy Ruff, the Stars crashed to Earth in 2016-17, dropping to 11th in the Western Conference thanks to some atrocious defense — they surrendered 262 goals, the worst mark in the NHL besides the 278 coughed up by the
— and an equally forgettable record on the road (12-24-5). Their 79 points in the standings were the lowest total for Dallas in five years.
General manager Jim Nill didn’t sit on his hands in response to the Stars’ collapse, however. No, he got busier than anyone in the league, turning Dallas into a hot spot for free agents and a factory of big headlines as part of an aggressive roster restocking. From publicly dangling one of the team’s two first-round draft picks for veteran talent to reeling in all kinds of actual veteran talent, Nill surrounded a reunion with coach Ken Hitchcock with no shortage of promising additions. At the least, he made an otherwise quiet NHL summer more eventful, but if the moves don’t translate to immediate results, Dallas will — and should — be sorely disappointed.
Key additions: F
Los Angeles Kings
Vegas Golden Knights
Key losses: G
If Nill’s offseason haul wasn’t significant, then whose was?
Bishop was an early add in May, and the Stars ensured the former
Tampa Bay Lightning
standout wouldn’t hit the open market by locking him up right away. In doing so, they also put an instant fix on the goalie situation, a driving force in Dallas’ 2016-17 struggles. Radulov isn’t particularly young and Hanzal isn’t particularly elite (despite Minnesota’s trade deadline compensation that suggested otherwise), but the Stars did get a pair of dependable scorers in the two veterans. Radulov was one of the last big-name forwards to find a home, but that certainly doesn’t mean his arrival lacked fanfare — the ex-Habs winger looked right at home in his return to the NHL with Montreal. And Hanzal makes for an upgrade over
Throw in Methot, who landed in Vegas from the Ottawa Senators via the expansion draft, and the Stars have an envious crew of gritty veterans. No one’s going to bat an eye regarding Niemi’s departure now that Bishop is manning the net, and Nill probably couldn’t have done any more to get this team ready for playoff contention.
The Stars’ offseason moves say one thing: We’re returning to the playoffs right away, and we want to go far. It’s not out of the question considering that Dallas was advancing through the postseason just two years ago, and there shouldn’t be too much issue with Nill’s summer additions gelling, but there are a lot of moving parts here. Hitchcock, remember, hasn’t been behind the Stars bench since 2001-02, when he was fired 50 games into the season. And Dallas remains in a division that’s home not only to the defending runner-up
but also postseason contenders like the Wild,
St. Louis Blues
If one thing is set in stone (even though, as we all know, nothing really is), it’s that Dallas will be better. Even if just half their offseason gems live up to expectations, the Stars can’t do much worse than the 79-point season they turned in under Ruff.
are two intriguing names to keep an eye on outside captain
and the team’s new faces, and they figure to help elevate the club back to a respectable level. Respectable in Nill’s eyes, however, has to be this: Nothing less than a serious playoff run. It’s the only appropriate follow-up to a summer so bent on righting the ship — and doing it in a splashy way.
Source : CBSsports