Of all the teams benefitting most from realignment in the NHL, the Dallas Stars could be one of the teams with the most to gain. With the Stars moving out of the Pacific Division and into the Central Division, the Stars and their fans can enjoy more games at a decent hour when the team is on the road. Not to mention all the weeklong road trips the Stars would venture on while in a different time zone.
The Stars are not only in a new division with new rivals, but they are also a team with a completely different look this year. It started at the top as Jim Nill took over the General Manager position and Lindy Ruff was hired as the new head coach. Fan favorites Brendan Morrow, Steve Ott and Loui Erickson have been replaced with Tyler Seguin, Rich Peverly, Shawn Horcoff and Valeri Nichushkin.
The Stars, who have missed the playoffs four consecutive years, are hoping this season will be different. The new faces and new personnel in the front office have brought a heritage of winning along with them. Nill, who spent 22 seasons as the Assistant General Manager for the Detroit Red Wings, help build an organization that made the playoffs year after year.
Jamie Benn, the newly named Captain for the Stars, will probably see most of his ice time with Seguin as a line mate. This line could potentially be lethal for opposing defenses to try and contain. If Kari Lehtonen stays healthy and plays to the standard he’s set for himself, this team should be considerably better than they have been in years past. Playing in the same division as the St. Louis Blues and Chicago Blackhawks might hurt them a little bit, but I think they are able to make up for that in other areas.
Dallas will finish in the top eight this season. However, I’m not sure they’ll make the top three in the division or be a wild card. Either way, I think they make the playoffs and end the drought with a record of 44-31-7 (95 points).