The Dallas Stars lost their season opener to a Florida Panthers team that was among the worst on the planet last season on Thursday night. As disappointing as it was, there is no reason to panic one game into an 82-game season. But over the course of the next couple weeks, the Stars could find themselves in trouble if they don’t avoid a slow start.
This isn’t a reaction to the Stars’ Opening Night loss, it’s a simple fact. If the Stars stumble out of the gate, they may not have the team to battle back. With this team, in this conference, a slow start could spell serious trouble for the new look Stars.
Dallas spent a great deal of time overhauling their roster and making improvements, particularly on offense. Despite the fact that they did improve significantly, getting younger, establishing a core, and keeping their farm system intact, nobody is declaring this team a Stanley Cup contender.
No one is declaring them as such because they are not. They are a fringe playoff team at this point, and until they prove otherwise that’s how they’ll be viewed. The fact that they are a club on the fringe at the moment, means that they may not have the personnel to recover from a slow start.
If the Stars were to get off to a slow start, and struggle through October and possibly November, they don’t have the offense to turn it around on a dime, like a club like the Washington Capitals did last season. They don’t have the blue line and goaltending, as underrated as each might be, to start shutting out opponents on a nightly basis.
Again, this isn’t an overreaction to the Stars losing to what was one of the worst teams in hockey last year. It’s a simple fact. They play in a tough conference, and an even tougher division. If they’re unable to get off to a solid start, they could find themselves floundering come springtime.