They snuck up on almost everybody, and nearly made the playoffs because of it, falling short because of a last day loss to the Minnesota Wild. The Stars may have taken a bigger hit this offseason, losing their heart and soul in Brad Richards. But, they enter deeper then before. But, how will this team truly in transition everywhere fare this season?
Strengths: There are a decent amount of new faces this season that should help with veteran leadership, and more. Michael Ryder comes over from the Stanley Cup Champs, and he is a good top 6 forward, and along with him comes Radek Dvorak, Vern Fiddler, and others, who will be able to add some grit, and versatility to this team. This newfound depth is something Dallas did not have much of last season besides Richards and Jamie Benn. This newfound depth should also help new coach Glen Gulutzan make a stamp on this team. They have some scoring threats in Loui Eriksson, Breden Morrow, Steve Ott, Mike Ribiero and especially the young burgeoning star of the team, Jamie Benn. He has a ton to prove that he can become the face of the franchise, but he looks like he's well on his way to becoming a star, and the Dallas Stars need that badly. He needs to improve on his 22 goals from a season ago, and if he can, it will really allow this team to take a step forward. In net, Kari Lehtonen is a good goaltender who still has something to prove.
Weaknesses: Behind some of the main players, there is not much depth still at scoring. Ryder will help with that, however there is no major second scoring threat, or even one that makes you gameplan against him. The blueline is also a slight sore spot, despite having D Alex Goligoski, and some other players who can help. The whole team has a sense of needing to prove something to everyone after falling just short of the postseason, and Brad Richards departing, so that chip on their shoulder could help or hurt them.
Any Help Coming? This team may be one of the only ones in hockey that has a top prospect that is a goalie. Jack Campbell has the makings of a possible star. He is athletic, a proven winner, and competes hard on every play, no matter how small. D Philip Larsen is a bit small, but has all around skills to become a decent defenseman at some point in his career, and that may happen this season. RW Alex Chiasson has a good blend of size and skill, and could become a decent second or third liner at some point.
Outlook: They were 2 point shy of making the postseason a season ago, but they may be a bit further than that this year. They will be competitive, and likely out of the Pacific basement, but the playoffs seem like a stretch this season. With Joe Nieuwendyk at the helm, there is reason for optimism along with a new owner, but another season without the postseason in Dallas seems likely.