NHL 15: Dallas Stars Guide
Written By: Trex20
Year in Review:
The Stars started their 2013 off-season with a bang, parting ways with GM Joe Nieuwendyk and replacing him with Jim Nill, one the architects of the Detroit Red Wings’ success.
The Stars also hired Lindy Ruff as their head coach, a move Stars fans were immediately happy with.
Nill got right to work. First, he made the blockbuster trade of the summer, sending Loui Eriksson to Boston in exchange for Tyler Seguin (and Rich Peverley). The move allowed Jamie Benn to move back to his more natural position on the wing, with Seguin taking the #1 center spot.
The Stars also began their re-branding, unveiling a new logo and new “victory green” jerseys. They also named Jamie Benn captain and officially made him the “face of the franchise.”
The Stars also drafted a big name in Valeri Nichushkin. Expected to go early, he fell to number 10 (some speculated this was because teams were wary of drafting a Russian player who might choose the KHL) and the Stars’ management scooped him up. At 6’4″ and 215 pounds, Nichushkin had the size-and the talent- the Stars were looking for.
The Stars went in to the 2013-14 season in the league’s toughest division, the Central, facing the Blackhawks, Blues and Avs as their toughest competition.
They would have an up-and-down season, looking unbeatable one game and like a bottom-feeding team the next. But as the season went on, the younger players grew more confident and progressed well. Jordie Benn proved he deserved the contract he was given in the off-season, which had worried many fans. Alex Goligoski, plagued by comparison to James Neal, who Dallas gave up for him, had a great year, becoming Dallas’ top defensemen- in general, when Goligoski played well, the Stars won. When he didn’t, the Stars lost.
Jamie Benn also stepped up, taking on the role of captain with ease. This was especially evident after Rich Peverley collapsed on the bench from a cardiac event during a game against Columbus. The Stars played the Blues the next night, and Benn put the team on his back, scoring the game-winner in overtime.
The Tyler Seguin trade proved to be a stroke of genius- his chemistry with Jamie Benn was immediately evident, and Seguin was often dazzling. The Stars have made it clear they want to the keep the Benn-Seguin duo for years to come, with team president Jim Lites going so far as to say he hopes their numbers will one day hang from the rafters in Dallas.
Often, when the Stars weren’t firing on all cylinders, goalie Kari Lehtonen was. He stole many wins for Dallas, including a memorable night in Chicago where Dallas won despite allowing 50 shots- Kari stopped all but 3.
Valeri Nichushkin also had a good year, though it was not without it’s bumps. Still a teenager, Nichushkin grew throughout the year, and Ruff wasn’t afraid to shuffle him around the lines, even scratching him a couple times.
The Stars’ hard-work and overhaul paid off, as they ended a five-year playoff drought. They fought the Anaheim Ducks 6 games in the first round, losing game 6 in heart-breaking fashion.
But though they were out of the playoffs, the Stars weren’t done. Nill again made a big splash in the off-season, trading for Jason Spezza and signing Ales Hemsky on the same day. They also had a solid draft, taking Julius Honka with their first-round pick, though he is expected to spend at least another year developing before he comes to the NHL.
The coming season (and really, the coming years) look bright and Stars’ fans are excited and hoping for a deeper playoff run this year.
Highlights from the 2013-2014 Season:
Why the Dallas Stars Will Win the Stanley Cup This Year:
Dallas is a fast-growing threat, and their speed is a force to be reckoned with. With the addition of Spezza and Hemsky, the Stars have several forward lines that are tough to play against. If a team solves one line, another can step-up to take it’s place. The can be high-scoring and out-pace other teams. Their core players are young and only continuing to get better.
Why the Dallas Stars Won’t Win the Stanley Cup This Year:
The Stars are one of only three teams to simulcast the entirety of their games on both TV and radio, which they have done since 1993.