The Dallas Stars squeaked into the playoffs, edging out the
Arizona Coyotes by two points for the final Wild Card spot. In the playoffs,
they were bounced in the Western Conference Quarterfinals in six games by the
heavier, deeper Anaheim Ducks. Their lack of depth was exposed by the Ducks,
but the Stars made one of the biggest moves of the offseason, acquiring Jason Spezza from the Ottawa Senators.
Jason Spezza – C
Alex Chiasson – RW
Ales Hemsky – RW Ray
Whitney – LW
Anders Lindback – G Chris
Mueller – C
Patrick Eaves – RW Tim
Thomas – G
Rome – D
The Stars sent Alex Chiasson, a second-round pick and two
prospects to the Senators for Spezza and a prospect. Spezza goes from being the
go-to-guy in Ottawa, to the second line centre in Dallas. The reduced pressure
should help Spezza and makes the Stars a much more dangerous offensive team.
Dallas also brought Ales Hemsky to town via free agency. After being traded
last season, Hemsky, 30, posted four goals and 13 assists (17 points) in 20
games on a line with Spezza.
The two former Sens join an already potent offence–the Stars
finished 10th in the NHL with 2.82 goals per game. They are led by their
captain Jamie Benn and his linemate Tyler Seguin. In his first season with the
Stars, the 22-year-old Seguin finished fourth in the league in points (84),
fifth in goals (37), seventh in game-winning goals (8) tied for eighth in
power-play goals (11) and 11th in assists (47)… Not a bad first season eh? Benn
was equally as good posting 34 goals and 45 assists–his 79 points were tied
with Alex Ovechkin and Joe Pavelski for eighth in the NHL.
The second tier of talent in Texas sees a number of young,
up-and-coming players. 19-year-old Valeri Nichushkin had an up-and-down rookie
season, but the kid is an absolute beast with loads of potential. Cody Eakin,
who played as their second line centre, will slide to the third line with the
addition of Spezza, but he set career highs in goals (16), assists (19) and
subsequently points (35).
Defensively, the Stars top-option is Alex Goligoski. After
an underwhelming first year and a half in Dallas, Goligoski has found the game
he showed in his four years in Pittsburgh. He was 21st among NHL defensemen
with 42 points last season. Trevor Daley has grown into a very capable
defenseman as well. He had one of his best NHL season in 2013-14, despite
missing 15 games with a high-ankle sprain. And at 40-years-old, Sergei Gonchar
saw his production slip dramatically last year, but he should remain a staple
on the Stars power-play this season.
Between the pipes, Kari Lehtonen will be the starter and he
will have Anders Lindback as his back-up this season. Over the last four
seasons, Lehtonen has started 81.2 per cent of the Stars regular season games,
posting a 2.47 GAA and .918 SV% over that span.
Season prediction: The Stars finish third in the Central Division
and make the playoffs for the second straight season with Lindy Ruff behind the
View the Stars’ entire roster and cap space heading into the
2014 – 2015 season
View the Stars’ potential line combinations heading into the
2014-15 season at Dailyfaceoff