Most people will not pick the Dallas Stars to win the Stanley Cup. Just like most people did not pick the St. Louis Blues to win the Cup last year.
While lack of scoring is a concern, especially come playoff time there’s more to playing the game.
Injuries are currently not an issue for the Stars. Tyler Seguin and Andrew Cogliano were dealing with minor injuries, but they’re both back and playing.
Most will agree that Tyler Seguin is the best offensive player for the Stars. As noted on the NHL’s website he led the team in goals and assists. Leading the Stars with thirty-three assists, and fifty total points.
Seguin also makes teammates around him better. Stars’ captain Jamie Benn would probably be the first to say it, and praise Segs:
“Obviously, I’m most comfortable with [Tyler] because we’ve been playing together for years.”
Having Jamie Oleksiak healthy is a big plus for the Stars. In the playoffs, everyone generally plays a more conservative, and physical game. The Big Rig has a good shot from the blue line and can skate well. He also plays a physical game to help his goalie when opposing teams decide to create traffic in front of the net. He’s also not afraid to use his 6’7″ frame to block shots.
As Matthew DeFranks said:
“Benn is the player capable of beating defensemen into the boards and goaltenders on the scoreboard. In the last two seasons, only three players have logged 300 hits and scored at least 45 goals: Benn, Alex Ovechkin, and Evander Kane.”
It’s just a matter of Benn making sure the switch stays on for sixty minutes (or more). His team will follow.
While the Stars are currently not having a remarkable round-robin, they’re still capable of making a deep playoff run. Especially with their defensive structure, and goaltending. Defense still wins championships. The Stars clearly have that piece of the puzzle. Young guns Roope Hintz, and Denis Gurianov can lead the way. Veterans like Tyler Seguin and Jamie Benn will want to get more involved as well. They’ve been there and done that. And of course, the full team needs to buy in, and know their roles.
Injury wise Dallas is relatively healthy. John Klingberg and Ben Bishop did not play on Wednesday vs Colorado for currently unknown reasons. Klingberg will be available to play on Sunday vs St. Louis.
Even without Bishop (whose status for Sunday is yet to be determined), the Stars still have an elite goalie in Anton Khudobin. As well as depth in defense. Highlighted by Miro Heiskanen (who had three assists vs Vegas), and physical stalwart Jamie Oleksiak.
The round-robin is essentially a tune-up for four teams in the West, and East.
While Dallas hasn’t looked good in two of three of those matches there’s no need to hit the panic button.
Featured Image: Shaban Athuman/Staff Photographer/Dallas Morning News