Is it Now or Never for the Stars?
By Patrick Hoffman
Last season was an absolute disaster for the Dallas Stars.
They failed to make the postseason, their starting goaltender got hurt at the wrong time, and they just simply could not get it done down the stretch when they needed to.
With all of that said, the Stars are going to bounce back next season. In fact, there is a reason why they might have to and that is because of what is going on between Tyler Seguin and his employer.
Surprisingly, Seguin currently does not have a new contract going into this season. He is set to become a UFA at the end of the year and right now, it appears that contract talks have stalled.
It is clear that both team GM Jim Nill and Seguin want to work it out. With that said, however, the longer this situation drags out, the more Seguin will become frustrated and the more his name will pop up in trade rumors.
Putting that behind them, this team is primed to have a bounce back season and considering the whole Seguin situation, they must have a good season so that they can go after a Cup with Seguin in tow.
It starts with the fact that the Stars went out and named Jim Montgomery the club's new head coach. Montgomery comes from the University of Denver where he spent the last five seasons as head coach of their hockey team.
In Montgomery, the Stars have a guy that will bring a fresh perspective to the team. He will have new ideas to preach to his highly-talented offense along with ways to get through to youngsters as he has spent the last 13 years working with 20-somethings, which is key because this is a young man's game now.
Secondly, if starting goaltender Ben Bishop can stay healthy, this team should be able to get back to the playoffs. In my mind, his knee injury is what cost the Stars a playoff spot.
Bishop was actually really good in his first year in Dallas. He finished the year with 26 wins and posted a 2.49 GAA, a .916 save percentage and five shutouts in 53 games.
This team will also bounce back because of their offense. With the likes of Jamie Benn (79 points), Seguin (78 points), and Alexander Radulov (72 points), the team has a front three that can compete with anyone.
Montgomery should be able to get the rest of the team's offense going. He will implement a system that will focus on puck-possession, being creative with the puck, and applying pressure when they do not have the puck, all things that made is Denver hockey club so successful.
Defensively, this team is in good shape with guys like John Klingberg (8 goals and 59 assists for 67 points), Marc Methot (should play a full season this year as he is healthy), and Stephen Johns (8 goals and 7 assists for 15 points). They also have youngsters like Dillon Heatherington, Miro Heiskanen, and Julius Honka who should help contribute and add speed to the back end.
While the team is in an unbelievably competitive Central Division with teams like the Nashville Predators, Winnipeg Jets, Minnesota Wild. Colorado Avalanche, St. Louis Blues, and Chicago Blackhawks, this team is good enough, at least on paper, to get back into the playoffs this year.
Stars fans should be pumped and be prepared to be contenders once again.
Patrick currently covers the NHL here as well as for WTP Sports.
Has previously covered the NHL for Sportsnet.ca, Kukla’s Korner, Spector’s Hockey, About.com, NHL Network Radio blog, TheHockeyNews.com, The Fourth Period, Stan Fischler’s “The Fischler Report”, as well as a slew of others.