The Dallas Stars were arguably the biggest disappointment of the 2014-15 season. They were a Stanley Cup contender that failed to even make the playoffs.
They made a huge trade to acquire Jason Spezza from the Ottawa Senators. He couldn’t even score 20 goals despite playing every game. The team, as a whole, could not stop goals from getting into the net. Kari Lehtonen was one of the worst goalies in the league one year after he looked like someone they could build around. The offense was Jamie Benn, Tyler Seguin, and then a bunch of disappointment. The depth did nothing to help the team win.
This year is a 100 percent turnaround. The Stars get scoring from everyone this year. Of course, Benn and Seguin are still very good. They have combined to score 41 goals in 35 games. Spezza and newly-acquired Patrick Sharp are both enjoying bounce-back seasons. They are both on pace for close to to 30 goals this year. The team has 14 players with double-digit points.
The Western Conference looked as stacked as ever this year. Despite their losses, the Chicago Blackhawks were still a big favorite to defend their Cup. The St. Louis Blues have an absolutely stacked roster that will be scary if they can win a playoff series. The Los Angeles Kings are finally rested and ready to make their own “dynasty.” There is a ton of competitors who were suspected to lead the Western Conference, and even win the President’s Trophy.
The Stars are currently eight points ahead of every team in the West. The Blues are closest, but they haven’t been able to stay consistent all season long. It is looking more and more likely that the Stars will lock up the No. 1 seed in the conference very early.
Last year’s No. 1 seed, the Anaheim Ducks, are currently the worst team in the entire conference. This is the year where a non-traditional team can win it all. That team could be the Stars. As long as Lehtonen and Antti Niemi can continue to play well, and the rest of the team keeps up their scoring, then they will be the favorites in the West for the rest of the season.