Central Division Preview: Dallas Stars

Frederick Breedon

We're taking a look at the teams in the newly revamped Central Division. Who are they? Who plays for them? How much booing should Predators fans be expected to rain down upon them? Next up, the new-look Dallas Stars.

Previous Season

11th in the West. Though they jettisoned Jaromir Jagr and their captain (Brenden Morrow) at the trade deadline, they still hung around long enough to make the playoff race a little more interesting.


2013 Season Stats

22-22-4 (48), GF & GF/G: 128, 2.67 (12th), GA & GA/G: 141, 2.94 (25th), PP: 17.0 % (18th), PK: 81.0% (17th)

Goaltending

Kari Lehtonen: .914%, 2.71 career

Dan Ellis: .908%, 2.72 career

Predators fans know Ellis from his three seasons in Music City. After spending some time in the AHL last season and being a part of the Carolina Hurricanes rocky season, he returns to the team that drafted him 60th overall in 2000. Lehtonen took the starter gig once Marty Turco left, and will be counted on almost every night.

Notable Additions

  • Sergei Gonchar
  • Tyler Seguin (Acquired from Bruins)
  • Rich Peverley (Acquired from Bruins)
  • Shawn Horcoff (Acquired from Oilers)
  • Chris Mueller (Not every division rival has a Predator from last season, I swear.)

The Stars made waves this summer by executing the quintessential blockbuster trade all of us hope to see. In the 7 player deal, Dallas sent the NHL's top-rated underrated player (Loui Eriksson) and three prospects to Boston in exchange for Sequin, Peverley and a defense prospect. Not done yet, they also swapped for Shawn Horcoff, solidifying them down the middle. For good measure, they signed the 39-year-old Gonchar to a two year deal, forever making them the butt of all "NHL retirement home" jokes.

Despite not playing a game yet, it's hard to argue the Stars appear much better now than they did at the end of last season.

Players You Should Know

  • Jamie Benn
  • Eric Cole
  • Ray Whitney
  • Alex Chiasson

Benn is a shoe-in for the captaincy and by far their best player. (Don't tell Tyler that.) Eric Cole hasn't nearly been the player he was in Carolina, but the new injection of players could revitalize him, if only a little. However, eyes should be on the rookie Chiasson, who was brought up at the tail end of last season. 6 goals in 7 games could easily have been a flash in the pan, but it'll be interesting to see if he develops into a player the Stars need.

Rivalry Potential

4 Weber Smashes

Webersmash_medium Webersmash_medium Webersmash_medium Webersmash_medium

With the shenanigans that went on in the games between the two teams last season, there seems to be some animosity building. Enter in the acquisitions they made this offseason and can make for some interesting and competitive games. Also, there may or may not be some disputes about a certain statue...

Playoff Team?

Possibly. Whether they will or not is a different story, but Tyler Seguin is a game changer. I'm more worried about Minnesota, but if they can improve at keeping the puck out of their own net and the additions mesh, they could pose a serious threat to surprising the division and sneaking into the playoffs.

Game Dates vs Nashville

Date Visitor Home Time (Central)
Thu Dec 12, 2013 Dallas Nashville 7:00 PM
Fri Dec 27, 2013 Nashville Dallas 7:30 PM
Mon Jan 20, 2014 Dallas Nashville 7:00 PM
Fri Mar 28, 2014 Nashville Dallas 7:30 PM
Tue Apr 8, 2014 Nashville Dallas 7:30 PM

Sites to Follow

Besides the lovely & talented Defending Big D, you should make sure to check out Mike Heika of the Dallas Morning News, and the always-entertaining Daryl Reaugh's Razor With An Edge.

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