It’s the off-season, and it’s that time for preseason, postseason predictions.
So far, many people are doubting the Dallas Stars and saying that there are more questions than answers.
Is that fair?
Let’s dive in!
It is fair to point out the Stars missed the playoffs last season. Even if it was only by four points in the standings. What might not be getting pointed out enough is the number of injuries the team faced and the compacted schedule the team had to grind out last year. Safe to say, with Dallas missing the postseason, the team had extra time to get healed up.
Going back to the 2021 season, the Stars arguably benefitted from using the playoffs this summer. Stars’ General Manager Jim Nill provides details here.
Much of the roster, as critics will point out, are players over thirty years of age. Most notably Joe Pavelski, Jamie Benn, Alexander Radulov, Ben Bishop, and Anton Khudobin. This veteran presence can be an advantage come the postseason. It’s a matter of staying healthy through the course of an eighty-two-game regular season. Something that can certainly be done. With good coaching to manage the minutes and a little bit of luck. Several young guys on the roster that are under twenty-five too.
Looking at the central division, the one sure-fire lock to make the playoffs are the Colorado Avalanche. The St. Louis Blues are a safe bet to make the postseason, but Jordan Binnington has so far lost his form since 2019. Plus, the Blues’ struggles on the penalty kill and on defense. The Minnesota Wild have question marks in goal scoring, while the Chicago Blackhawks have questions on defense. Yes, the Blackhawks did acquire Seth Jones. But he has yet to play with Chicago, so we don’t know how good he is with his new team yet.
Nashville Predators narrowly made the playoffs over the Stars by four points. You have to imagine how tall the hill will become when Dallas is healthier and doesn’t play as many games in so few days. The central division’s newest addition, the Arizona Coyotes, was not a playoff team last year and are now moving into what is expected to be a more competitive division. Though the Wild and Avalanche will be familiar faces from the 2021 season. The Jets of Winnipeg should be a playoff team as well. But like Chicago, they have issues on defense.
Dallas has their work cut out for them playing in a deep Central division. But they have all of the ingredients needed to be a threat past the regular season. Depth at defense, goaltending, and veteran goal scorers like Joe Pavelski and Jamie Benn. As well as potential young game-breakers like Jason Robertson and older Roope Hintz. A youth movement like that paid off quite well for last season’s Montreal Canadians with Cole Caufield and Nick Suzuki.
Adversity seems to be an element the Stars thrive on.
The 2020 playoffs were a perfect example of what the team is about when they have the horses on the ice.
Featured Image: Mark Humphrey/AP