Wednesday, October 7, 2015

The Forman Faceoff 2015/2016 NHL Season Preview - Dallas Stars

By: Joel Forman - The Forman Faceoff

Last Season: 41-21-10 with 92 points, 6th in Central Division and 9th in Western Conference

The Stars showed glimpses of a powerhouse offensive team last season, but ultimately injuries and inconsistency lead them to just missing out on the playoffs. The Stars have one of the best offensive teams in the NHL and will be a difficult group to contain this season, the key will be finding their game defensively and becoming a strong two-way team. It will be interesting to see if Antti Niemi or Kari Lehtonen runs away with the starting job or they split throughout the season, either way Lindy Ruff has a tough task at hand. 

Jamie Benn - Tyler Seguin - Valeri Nichushkin
Cody Eakin - Jason Spezza - Patrick Sharp
Antoine Roussel - Vernon Fiddler - Ales Hemsky
Travis Moen - Mattias Janmark - Patrick Eaves
Extra: Brett Ritchie, Colton Sceviour

The Stars have one of the deepest top-6 forwards in the NHL including the duo of Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin leading the way. The Stars added Patrick Sharp in the summer, and they hope his addition plus the return of Valeri Nichushkin (who missed all of last season) will bolster their offense. It will be interesting to see how Patrick Sharp fits in on the Stars, I see him gaining good chemistry with Jason Spezza. The Stars will have one of the best powerplays in the NHL and will be a team that will score in bunches, but it remains to be seen if they can keep goals out of the net too.

Alex Goligoski - John Klingberg
Johnny Oduya - Jason Demers
Jyrki Jokipakka - Jordie Benn
Extra: Jamie Oleksiak

The Stars brought back 5 of 6 D from last season, only losing Trevor Daley to the Hawks in the Patrick Sharp trade. The Stars then went out and signed Sharp's former teammate from Chicago Johnny Oduya to bolster their D for the season. John Klingberg had a breakout season last year with 11 goals and 40 points in 65 games, expect a big year out of him in a full season. The Stars aren't particularly strong as a team defensively, but it will be up to defense to pick things up and improve this season.

Antti Niemi
Kari Lehtonen

The Stars are faced with a classic 1A/1B situation, these are 2 guys who have been starting goaltenders for their entire careers now splitting the job. Lehtonen has been the Stars starting goaltender since 2009, but he has been inconsistent at times and really struggled last season. That lead to GM Jim Nill adding veteran Antti Niemi, a guy who won a Stanley Cup with Chicago but never found comfort in San Jose. He looks to have a fresh start with the Stars and push Lehtonen for the #1 spot, in my opinion I think Niemi will end up as the Stars goalie down the stretch. Either way it will be an interesting goalie battle to watch.

2015/2016 Outlook and Prediction:
6th in Central Division, 9th in Western Conference

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