The wait is finally over. After months without action, the NHL is restarting the season. The players have arrived in the bubbles, with one goal in mind. To win the Stanley Cup in the most chaotic and intense playoff we have ever seen. One of these teams is the Dallas Stars. A team that is looking to avenge their heartbreaking loss against the St. Louis Blues last season. Their first task will be the Round Robin.
Before going too far into the analysis, let’s first take a look at the players going to Edmonton. Their playoff roster is as follows:
Forwards: Corey Perry, Andrew Cogliano, Radek Faksa, Mattias Janmark, Jamie Benn, Blake Comeau, Joe Pavelski, Nicholas Caamano, Jason Dickinson, Jason Robertson, Roope Hintz, Joel Kiviranta, Denis Gurianov, Justin Dowling, Alexander Radulov, Ty Dellandrea, Tyler Seguin
Their schedule for their exhibition game and round robin games is as follows:
Exhibition Game July 30 vs Nashville 4pm ET
Round Robin Game August 3 vs Vegas 6:30pm ET
Round Robin Game August 5 vs Colorado 6:30 ET
Round Robin Game August 9 vs St Louis TBD
An old saying is that offense sells tickets, but defense wins championships. This is a saying the Dallas stars desperately want to be true, as their main strength comes from their defensive structure and capabilities to shut down even some of the league’s best goalscorers. In 69 games they only allowed 174 goals against and with a defense consisting of John Klingberg, Miro Heiskanen, and Esa Lindell it’s easy to see why they found success on the defensive aspects of the game.
Add to it a tandem of Ben Bishop and Anton Khudobin, a tandem that might be one of the best in the league, playing behind it and the Stars are a team that can shut down anyone. A fact that we saw last year against the Predators in the first round of the playoff, where the Stars humiliated the divisional champions with a masterful defensive display. This has to happen again, but if the defense can stay strong like in the regular season, the Stars are a team that can make some noise.
Where Dallas defense and goaltending is up there with the league’s best teams, the glaring weakness comes from the offense. While on paper they do have a lot of talent in Seguin, Benn, and Radulov, it never quite seemed to work for them this season. The Stars only scored 178 goals this season and due to the style of play, they seem to lack some offensive structure. The work from the backend and with a defense-first mindset and that limits the scoring. Tyler Seguin leads the team in points, but it’s only with 50 points.
They need more production in the playoff. From the top line of Seguin, Radulov, and Benn to the depth forwards in the lineup. Everyone needs to help with the scoring problem.
Who to watch?
As mentioned above the offense of the Dallas Stars is the weak point. Therefore it’s paramount that someone from outside the topline steps up. Two candidates to do just that is the youngster’s Denis Gurianov and Roope Hintz. Both had breakout seasons, and it will be interesting to see if both can continue from the regular season. If they can find that level of play or even add to it. Dallas has a chance.
Will the Stars bring back the cup?
They have a chance to do so, but the stars aren’t the first pick to win the Cup. They have the talent and as mentioned, their defense can take them far. However, the lack of scoring is problematic and could be the Achilles heel that cost them. Within the Round Robin, I see them finish in 3rd, above the Golden Knights, and I do see them advance from any matchup in the first round. However, that is also where the fun stops for the Stars. Another second-round heartbreak is my unfortunate prediction for Dallas Stars.
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