NHL Dallas Stars

Top 5 Dallas Stars through Midseason

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Top 5 Dallas Stars through Midseason

Dallas Stars
Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Coming into the 2013-14 season there were a lot of questions about how the Dallas Stars would do. It's been five years since the Stars made a playoff appearance, and in that time there has been a revolving door of players, coaches and front office staff. With a new general manager, new coach, and new division, fans hoped that this would be the season things finally start to move in the right direction. So far, it's been mixed results.

The Stars are a work-in-progress and have faced their share of road bumps this season. Dallas possesses a wealth of offensive talent, but the defensive unit is less than ideal. The team suffered a round of injuries early in the season that set them back. More recently, the Stars played undoubtedly their worst stretch of hockey in January, losing 11 of 15 games. The biggest issue for the team has been consistency. Some nights they are able to play shut down hockey against the league's toughest teams only to play an uninspired, sloppy game the following night against some of the worst.

As NHL play is set to resume on Tuesday, the Stars currently occupy the second wildcard spot in the Western Conference, and there is a good reason why. The core of the Dallas Stars is made up of a handful of talented youths that are hungry for success. These are the top five Dallas Stars that have shone through the first half of the season to keep the teams' playoff hopes alive.

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5. Valeri Nichushkin

Valeri Nichushkin
Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Valeri Nichushkin was the Dallas Stars' first-round draft selection (No. 10 overall) in the 2013 NHL Entry Draft. Concerns over potential contract conflicts and a general wariness of Russian players lowered his draft stock, but general manager Jim Nill smartly snagged up the young winger when the opportunity arose.

Nichushkin struggled in the early games, but as the season has progressed so has his game. He’s a bull of a player with good speed and hands to back up his physical game. Currently Nichushkin leads the team in plus-minus with a rating of plus-16. He has 13 goals and 28 points through 55 games.

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4. Cody Eakin

Cody Eakin
Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

When the Dallas Stars traded Mike Ribeiro to the Washington Capitals in exchange for Cody Eakin and a draft pick, many felt that the Stars had gotten too little in the deal. In his second season with the Stars, Eakin has shaken off much of the doubts. Even though he would fit better on a third line, Eakin has been centering the Stars' second line and doing a fantastic job at that. He plays smart and leaves it all out on the ice every single game.

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3. Brenden Dillon

Brenden Dillon
Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

There is no doubt that Brenden Dillon is the future of the Dallas Stars defense. The 22-year-old plays an aggressive game and is not afraid to drop the gloves when necessary. With veteran Stephane Robidas out since November with a broken leg, the Stars have looked to Dillon to help fill that void, and he has risen to the challenge.

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2. Tyler Seguin

Tyler Seguin
Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Tyler Seguin came to Dallas looking to reset his image as a party boy and refocus his game. For the Stars, Seguin has provided the offensive boost they desperately needed. Already this season, Seguin has netted two hat tricks. Presently he leads the team in goals (24) and assists (32) for a total of 56 points.

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1. Jamie Benn

Jamie Benn
Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

It was a close call, but Jamie Benn edged out his linemate for the No. 1 spot. The Dallas Stars promoted Benn to captain and have built the future of the franchise around him for a very good reason: he’s incredibly talented. Benn’s game is a mixture of skill and physicality that makes him a threat any time he is on the ice. The acquisition of Seguin has allowed Benn to move back to left wing where he can be downright lethal.