With just a few days until the NHL trade deadline, teams around the National Hockey League are gearing up for their second-half pushes whether it be to just make the playoffs, to solidify their spot in the standings, or possibly shoot for their conference’s top overall seed

The Dallas Stars are currently sitting at 31-16-13 which is good enough for 75 points and second in the Western Conference, fit the latter.  

That being said, just because they’re currently second doesn’t mean they’re a near-lock for the playoffs this season. In fact, the top eight teams in the Western Conference this season are currently separated by a mere six points.

It’s still anyone’s game, with it being reasonably possible for any of the top eight teams; the Vegas Golden Knights, Dallas Stars, Los Angeles Kings, Colorado Avalanche, Minnesota Wild, Edmonton Oilers, Winnipeg Jets, and Seattle Kraken to make a run at the conference’s top seed. 

Currently, it’s the Colorado Avalanche favored by Caesars Sportsbook to win the NHL Central Division this year at +125 as well as the Western Conference Finals at +200. But behind them in both the Central Division odds and Western Conference champions odds is the Stars.

To win the Central Division, the Stars are currently at +160, while they’re +700 to win the Western Conference this postseason. You can bet on the NHL and more by using Caesars Sportsbook and the promo codes that can be found, here.

What the Stars Have Done So Far This Season

That being said, today’s article focuses on the Dallas Stars. After starting the season as a +5000 favorite to win the Stanley Cup, the Stars got off to a strong start this year, winning each of their first four games and going 10-5-2 in their first 17 games. After starting 10-5-2, their success would continue into the New Year, entering 2023 with a 23-9-6 record. January and February have been tougher months for the Stars, going just 8-5-7 since the turn of the calendar. Now, the Western Conference playoff race is extremely tight. However, the Stars still should remain one of the favorites to not only be the conference’s top overall seed but eventually win the Western Conference Finals.

A major reason for the Stars’ success this year has been their defense and goaltending. They currently have allowed just 154 goals on the season, third best in the NHL, and an average of 2.61 goals against per game. 24-year-old goalie Jake Oettinger has been fantastic, collecting a 24-8-9 record with four shutouts while posting a .926 save percentage and 2.33 goals against average. Backup goalie Scott Wedgewood has also been strong, going 16-7-8 with a .913 save percentage and 2.92 goals against average. 

While their offense hasn’t been the focal point of their success either, the Stars have gotten plenty so far this season as well. Averaging 3.2 goals per game, Dallas has seen big seasons out of forwards Jason Robertson, Roope Hintz, Jamie Benn, and Joe Pavelski. Defenseman Miro Heiskanen has not only been stellar defensively, a key part of the Stars’ success in their own zone but has also been an offensive dynamo himself with 42 points in 56 games. 

Will the Stars Add to Their Team at the Trade Deadline?

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The NHL trade deadline is set for March 3 at 3:00 p.m., and the Stars have already begun adding to their squad by acquiring forward Evgenni Dadonov from the Montreal Canadiens and trading away forward Denis Guranov. Dadonov, so far this season, has 18 points in 50 games. 

More trades, however, are expected for the Stars. According to NHL insider Frank Seravelli, names that could interest the Stars ahead of Friday’s deadline include Philadelphia Flyers forward James van Riemsdyk and Washington Capitols forward Jakub Vrana. Both players would add a potential additional goal-scoring option for the Stars. One thing for certain, if the Stars do, in fact, want to make a strong second-half push, they’ll need a bit more firepower offensively, especially once the Stanley Cup Playoffs begin. 

Stars Have One of the Easiest Schedules Remaining

The good news for the Stars is that they have one of the easiest schedules remaining. The bad news for the Stars is that everyone in the Western Conference seemingly has an easy schedule the rest of the way. According to Tankathon.com, the Stars have the 29th hardest schedule for the rest of the season. However, ahead of them are the Colorado Avalanche, Vancouver Canucks, and Seattle Kraken.

While the Canucks are out of playoff contention, Colorado and Seattle are very much still considered contenders, while the Los Angeles Kings, another Western Conference contender, sits right above them with the 28th hardest schedule remaining. Notably, the most challenging games remaining for the Stars is one game against the Vegas Golden Knights, two against the Colorado Avalanche, three against the Seattle Kraken, and one against the Edmonton Oilers. 

However, they also have plenty of should-be wins left on the schedule, with a total of 10 games remaining combined against the Chicago Blackhawks, Arizona Coyotes, Vancouver Canucks, Philadelphia Flyers, St. Louis Blues, and Detroit Red Wings. 

All in all, this is shaping up to be a fun finish to the regular season in the Western Conference over the last month and a half  of the regular season.  

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