By Shane Darrow on August 14, 2014
The Dallas Stars have been one of the biggest winners so far this offseason. Their biggest moves have been trading for Jason Spezza and signing Ales Hemsky to a three-year deal on the first day of free agency. With the Stars creeping up the NHL's power rankings, here are five questions that must be answered before the puck drops on the 2014-15 season.
The Dallas Stars brought in a fair amount of talent during the offseason, but that isn't going to automatically mean they'll be more successful on the power play. Last year, the Stars ranked 23rd best in the NHL with the man advantage, and it was a big reason why they ended up falling short in the postseason.
It's no secret that an elite goaltender is crucial to succeeding in the NHL – look at the Los Angeles Kings – and while Kari Lehtonen has shown at times he can be fantastic between the pipes, he needs to be able to bring his 'A' game every night. If Lehtonen can consistently stand tall in goal, the Stars will be the surprise team in the West.
Ales Hemsky signed a three-year, million contract with the Stars on the first day of free agency, and he'll need to do some convincing to the front office that he's worth that amount of money. After having 65 or more points in three of the four seasons between 2005-09, Hemsky is yet to record another 50-point campaign. Hemsky did end last season on a high note – recording 17 points in 20 games with the Ottawa Senators.
The Dallas Stars have one of the best problems a team can have – deciding between two elite centers to play in the middle of the first line. Next to the Pittsburgh Penguins, the Stars now have the most dynamic duo at center with newly-acquired Jason Spezza and Tyler Seguin. It's likely that Seguin will lead the first line, considering he has already developed some chemistry with his teammates, but it's a decision that still needs to be made.
Yup, I said it. The Dallas Stars have made exceptional strides this offseason, and I believe they are going to be the dark horse in the almighty Western Conference. However, a lot of pressure is on the shoulders of the Stars' captain, 25-year-old Jamie Benn. The Stars haven't been in the Stanley Cup picture since Mike Modano was leading them onto the ice, but hopefully Benn can keep the team composed both on and off the ice.
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