The Dallas Stars reset things last year, after a few seasons of missing the playoffs, by hiring Jim Nill as their General Manager and Lindy Ruff as their head coach. The payoff came swiftly, as the Stars made the postseason, admittedly as the last team in, and then gave the Anaheim Ducks a run for their money. Now, the question becomes whether or not the arrow is moving up or down.
On the surface, it seems like it's going up to me. Tyler Seguin has already made himself look like a steal, scoring 37 goals and 84 points in his first season. That being said, I feel like that's sort of his ceiling. I mean, it's a great ceiling. Nobody's complaining about that ceiling. I just don't see him as more than a 40, goal 90 point guys. Jamie Benn is also excellent. Cody Eakin, Alex Chiasson, and Valeri Nichushkin provided depth scoring last season, and I expect Nichushkin, who was an 18-year-old rookie straight out of Russia last year, to improve. He could give the Stars a dangerous trio up top. The team also brought in Ales Hemsky, who was quite good in Ottawa last season after being traded, and who has a track record of offensive output.
Alex Goligoski, while he's no James Neal, really picked up his numbers last season, and Trevor Daley and Brandon Dillon are pretty alright on defense too. Kari Lehtonen was healthy and played well. There are questions behind Lehtonen, and by questions, I mean Anders Lindback, who we last saw getting carved up by Montreal in the playoffs. However, they also do have young netminder Jack Campbell.
This team has talent, and they have a very good head coach. I have a hard time seeing them taking a step back this season, and I think they may even take a step forward. Now, in the West, that doesn't mean much. Maybe they can, saw overtake San Jose and finished third in the Pacific, meaning a first round matchup with, probably, Anaheim. So, you know, the more things change and all that. It's tough to be a team in the West right now, even with guys like Seguin leading the way.