Dallas Stars: Have Summer Moves Made Them Playoff Contenders?
The Dallas Stars have seen plenty of change this summer, almost more than any other organization. With a new general manager and a new head coach, the changes to their roster were inevitable. In a bit of an overhaul, while still managing to maintain what is a strong farm system, the Stars have gotten better this offseason. But have they gotten good enough to reach the postseason?
First, we have to look at what they already had in place. This team, surprisingly, hung around in the playoff race in the Western Conference last year. This was a team that had already boasted some talent at both ends of the ice. They were able to add to that talent this summer.
Jamie Benn is a future star. Erik Cole won’t be as bad as he was last year, as he should have some consistency as far as his linemates are concerned. Ray Whitney continues to defy the odds at his age. Trevor Daley, Alex Goligoski, and Stephane Robidas are solid pieces on the blue line. Not to mention a strong group of role players that saw their first taste of the NHL last year.
They added to that solid group. Yes, Loui Eriksson is gone. But in trading him, they acquired a future superstar, in Tyler Seguin, and a very solid role player in Rich Peverley. Shawn Horcoff was also acquired in a trade, giving a team that desperately needed center depth a pretty solid 1-2 punch in the middle.
The addition of Sergei Gonchar went a bit overlooked given their bigger moves that were made as the summer wore on. But he adds experience to the blue line, and should be an asset on the power play.
That’s not to mention the addition of Valeri Nichushkin in the draft. The no. 10 overall pick should be a big time scoring threat as a power forward, and could make an impact this season. Add him to a potential top line of Benn and Seguin, and you have a potential dominant trio.
Questions still remain for this team. Are they deep enough up front? Is their blue line strong enough to contend? Can Kari Lehtonen remain healthy enough to keep them in the playoff race? This is a team that isn’t far off from being a real playoff threat, and it wouldn’t be surprising to see things come together for them to make some big time noise in the 2013-14 season.