The Dallas Stars are in full swing with their rebuilding efforts, and if they can keep playing like they’ve been this year they might speed up the process.
After 32 games played so far in the regular season, the Stars are currently fifth in the Central Division and 10th overall in the stacked Western Conference with 35 points. They are tied with the Winnipeg Jets and the Nashville Predators for the last place of the division, and they are also eight points behind the Minnesota Wild for the last playoff berth.
Granted, it’s not the scenario many would like when the season is almost half over, but there have been some bright spots like the play of Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin on the forward lines along with the goaltending of Kari Lehtonen, although the Finland native has struggled a bit in recent weeks. In order to find sustained success, however, the Stars need to improve on their special teams play the rest of the campaign.
The Stars are ranked 29th in the NHL with only an 11.3 percent effectiveness on their power play opportunities, meaning they are able to score on roughly one of every ten chances. While the numbers do improve a bit on the defensive side of the puck – 80.7 percent on the PK, 21st in the league – they are clearly not enough for a team that doesn’t have a lot of star talent and is looking to clinch a place in the postseason.
Nobody expected the Stars to get into the playoffs this year, but they have shown several times already that they have what it takes to compete with the best teams in the league. If they can tune up their play through penalties – on both sides of the ice – then they could end up surprising once the regular season is over.