The Dallas Stars missed the playoffs last year, ending the season with 79 points and sixth place in the central division. The team struggled in net in 2016-2017, finishing with the league’s worst team save percentage at .893, though Dallas seems to have addressed this issue by acquiring Ben Bishop from Los Angeles. But have the Stars really solved their problem? The Dallas Stars 2017-2018 season preview will see if this change was enough to propel the team back to the post-season. Here’s how we see them performing this season.
The Stars’ offense features some high-powered threats in Tyler Seguin and Jaime Benn. Seguin and Benn both scored 26 goals in the 2016-2017 season, while they finished the year with 72 and 69 points respectively. Despite putting up 0.90 points per game, Benn is considered to have had a down year in 2016-2017. He finished the last three seasons with 89, 87, and 79 points respectively, and should be expected get his production back up to that level in the 2017-2018 season.
Dallas’ biggest offensive addition has been the signing of Alexander Radulov. Radulov played on Montreal last season after coming over from the KHL. He scored 18 goals and 36 assists on the year and should be expected to produce even more this year as he is expect to play on the top line with Seguin and Benn.
Jason Spezza finished third on the Stars’ roster last season with 50 points in 68 games played. He will be expected to provide supplemental offense while playing on the second line with the newly acquired Martin Hanzal. Hanzal is a big center and should provide physicality along with around 30-40 points. Last season Hanzal scored 20 goals and 19 assists as a member of both the Arizona Coyotes and Minnesota Wild.
The Dallas Stars’ defense owns a good balance between offensive and defensive defensemen. John Klingberg put up 49 points last season, which was tied for tenth among defensemen in the league. The Swede also led the team in time on ice with 23:21 minutes played. His D-partner last year, Esa Lindell will look to keep developing his game at the NHL level during his second season in the show. Lindell led Dallas defensemen in plus-minus last season at +8, and also produced 6 goals and 12 assists for the second most points among blueliners on the team.
Dan Hamuis and Marc Methot should provide solid defensive play for the team. Dan Hamuis plays a solid defensive game and slots into a second defensive pair role nicely for the Stars. Methot finished last season with a +13 rating as a member of the Ottawa Senators. He has been a staple of Ottawa’s defense for the last few seasons and should bring the same shutdown game to Dallas.
The last two spots on defense are expected to be filled out by Julius Honka and Stephen Johns, although the Stars’ organization has many promising defensive prospects who might make a jump to the NHL within the year. Jaime Oleksiak, Patrick Nemeth, Dillon Heatherington, and Gavin Bayreuther may all spend some time on Dallas’ blue line.
The Dallas Stars biggest problem in recent years has been its goaltending. The team made a big move this summer to try and alleviate this issue by signing Ben Bishop to a six-year contract. Last Season the 6’7 goaltender put up a 2.54 GAA and a .910 save percentage while playing 39 games for the Tampa Bay Lightning and Los Angeles King. In his NHL career thus far Bishop has compiled a 2.32 GAA and .919 save percentage.
Backing up Bishop will be Kari Lehtonen. Lehtonen has been inconsistent over the past three seasons. Since the 2014-2015 season he has sported a .904 save percentage, which will not be enough this season to allow his team to make the playoffs. The acquisition of Bishop should solidify the crease and allow Lehtonen to find his footing while in a backup role.
Dallas Stars 2017-2018 Season Preview: Overall Outlook
The addition of Ben Bishop looks to have filled the holes in the Stars overall game. In recent seasons, goaltending has been the team’s downfall and adding a netminder who has shown he has the ability to play like an all-star, makes the team complete. Coupled with dynamic forwards and a good mix of defensemen makes the Dallas Stars look like a playoff contender. Despite this, they are in the toughest division in the league and it will be tough for them to beat out the other Central teams for a trip to the postseason.
- The Dallas Stars look to have solved their biggest problem from last year by signing Ben Bishop.
- The Stars’ offense features dynamic threats in Seguin, Benn, and Radulov, as well as solid supplementary players.
- Dallas’ defensive corps has a good balance between offensive and defensive defensemen, as well as a plethora of young prospects that could help the NHL team later in the year