These are exciting times for the Dallas Stars organization. Big-name free agency signings, coming off of the best season in the last decade, core players hitting their career primes and a fanbase that is buzzing with excitement and anticipation.
But are things too exciting right now in Big D?
The Stars are in a good place for the 2019-2020 season, with championship aspirations mounting from players in the locker room and even some hockey analysts on major broadcasting networks. You have heard all of the new signings and seen the “Welcome to Dallas” posts on social media. The Stars roster on paper is full of depth, experience, youth, and belief. Unfortunately, we all know that championships aren’t won on paper. Yes, the pieces are in place, but if every player doesn’t do their job and fill their role this season, then the metaphorical balloon in Dallas could pop quickly.
Team chemistry will be vital to any sort of successful regular season, nonetheless a deep playoff run. What has made teams so dangerous night in and night out is rarely just that they constantly out skill their opponents, but that they are always on the same page with one another. You don’t have to look any further than the Blues last season. Look at their roster compared to the Bruins’ in the Stanley Cup Final matchup for proof.
The new guys on the block like Corey Perry and Joe Pavelski are great, but how will they jive with the rest of the roster as a whole? No player has just slid right into their role without some snags. In 2019, Matts Zuccarello was probably the closest to doing that with his move from the New York Rangers to the Stars with a goal and assist in his Stars appearance, which unfortunately included him breaking his arm in the second period. No one is ever that lucky.
Head Coach Jim Montgomery is always changing his lines around to fit hot hands and try to keep up momentum flowing down the Stars bench, but with veteran players like those of Perry and Pavelski’s stature, could that pose problems? Both plays have played traditional hockey their entire career, and have always known who they were going to be lined up with the same four other players on every shift for the entire season unless injuries interfered, so essentially the opposite of what they’re about to be dropped into in Dallas. On the other hand, could they both flourish in the new environment and both turn back the clock for phenomenal seasons? Rome wasn’t built in a day, but it was built in a series of very well thought out and thorough steps.
Not to continue to be the bearer of (possible) bad news, but the Stars still have a long way to go. They have been handed the keys to the stick-shift car, but have been driving an automatic their entire lives. Change is only good when it benefits those involved, and it will not be another banner-hanging year in DFW without some extended effort and flexibility by all involved in the roster and in the dressing room.
Each player has their own style; that is what makes sports so entertaining and so much fun to watch. Jim Montgomery is no different. He had his own style as a player and now has his own as a coach. He has established his coaching style in his first year at the helm of the Dallas Stars and has based his free agencies wants and signees off of that. Players will be asked to change up their game to fit his type of game in those certain positions, which in his case can change several times in just a short road trip for his roster.
Pressure makes diamonds or it burst pipes. The hype is real, but is this team a true Stanley Cup contender?