Heading into the summer of 2013, there is a pretty clear line as to what the Dallas Stars need to do in order to get back into the postseason. The first is to hire a coach. Then new general manager Jim Nill will have to take a look at the actual roster.
This team is actually in pretty good shape. They weren’t eliminated from postseason contention until one of the final days of the regular season. There is plenty to work with. Which is what makes this job attractive to potential coaching candidate.
One area that the team could really stand to improve in is their blue line. The Stars were one of the worst teams in the league in goals allowed per game and surrendered 31 shots on average. Which means that Nill will be taking a look at some of the defenseman that are out there, both on the free agent market and those that are available via trade.
The free agent class is a thin one, but there are options nonetheless. The Stars could look at a defensively solid guy like Andrew Ference, or they could try and look at someone who is more the total package, and a top pairing guy, like Mark Streit. Maybe even someone like Ron Hainsey, who is strong in his own end and blocks a ton of shots.
That’s not to say that this blue line is completely in shambles at this point. While they do need upgrading in the defensive end, the likes of Stephane Robidas and Alex Goligoski are a good start, along with Trevor Daley. But they do need another couple of pieces to make this a strong suit of their club.
And that’s exactly what they’ll do. This team can put the puck in the back of the net. They have a core group of offensive players that can lead this offense, as we saw for much of the regular season. But if they want to get back into the postseason, it’s going to start with an improved blue line.