Another hockey season is among us, with the Dallas Stars finally returning in less than one month; their past two seasons were a rollercoaster of ups and downs.
A Stanley Cup Final appearance followed by missing the playoffs. The Stars have many challenges next season, especially after injuries marred the team last year, and now they switch divisions again.
Here are the challenges for the Stars next season…
Injuries by far were the worst problem the Stars had. Some could even argue it’s why they missed the playoffs.
The Stars lost 317 man-games due to injury.
NHL top 5 teams, man-games lost to injury and illness.
— Man-Games Lost NHL (@ManGamesLostNHL) May 20, 2021
Tyler Seguin played 3 games, Alexander Radulov played 11, and Ben Bishop missed the entire season. Some were from the 2020 Playoffs, which took a lot out of players. These injuries were crippling, and they cannot happen again if they wish to make a run into the playoffs.
The Stars struggled in important moments last season, losing a large amount of one-goal games. The Nashville Predators clinched a playoff spot because of 12 fewer overtime losses. They didn’t get wins when they needed to, especially against the Predators in the 1-0 overtime loss on May 1st. The offense must come through in clutch moments, especially in the below-mentioned overtime games.
One subject that made Stars fans facepalm all season long was the overtime losses. They lost 14 games past regulation in a 56-game season. Most teams do not lose 14 games past regulation in an 82-game season. Part of this was Seguin missing lots of time, but still, the overtime must be better. Had they won half of those overtime losses, then they would have made the playoffs.
Things get back to normal for the Central Division. Old rivalries return vs. the St. Louis Blues, Colorado Avalanche, and Minnesota Wild. Their job does not get easier after leaving a division with the Tampa Bay Lightning. The Avalanche were the President’s Trophy winners last season. Expect them to look for a little bit of payback after the 2020 playoff series. The Central has always been a bruising division, but the original teams are back now.
Challenges arise throughout a six-month, 82-game season. Every NHL team gets a break in February with players competing in the 2022 Winter Olympiad in Beijing, China. Problems in October are not the same in April.
The biggest thing is hoping for a reduction in injuries. Stars fans are happy that hockey is returning, regardless of challenges.
The Stars play a preseason game in El Paso, Texas, against the Arizona Coyotes on October 3rd.
El Paso was the winner of Kraft Hockeyville USA in 2020.
Featured Image: Dallas Stars