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2017-2018 NHL Preview: Dallas Stars

The Stars secured their worst position and are headed back towards playoff bubble status

Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

In this 31 part series, I will be working my way back from 31st to 1st in my projected 2017-2018 standings. Fifteenth up are the Dallas Stars who are in their 24th season as a team. They won a Stanley Cup with Mike Modano in 1998 but have made the playoffs just twice in the last 9 seasons.

Basic Stats:
2016-2017 NHL Standings: 24th
Western Conference Standings: 11th
Central Division Standings: 6th
Goals for Rank: 16th
Goals against Rank: 29th

: The Dallas Stars were 29th in the league in goals allowed last year. They went out in the offseason and signed Ben Bishop (who spent parts of last season in Tampa Bay Lightning and the Los Angeles Kings) and gave him $7MM in 2017-2018 season (as they now have more % of cap space spent on goalie than any other team). Ben was 20th in GAA (2.58) and 30th in Save Percentage (.910); however, one could argue it was a year of transition after years of sub 2.32GAA with a save percentage over .916. He alone should help them bring their goals against down at least 5 rankings points. Marc Methot addition from Las Vegas (a premier shot blocker) should also help them a bit. They lost a few offensive players but I don't think any of them will make a lasting hole for the team. They held on to their core Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin and added Martin Hanzal and Alexander Radulov, two opposite players who will bring a physical presence for penalty kill and screens on the goalie during power plays and a pure scorer.

Major Additions
: Martin Hanzal, Alexander Radulov and Marc Methot
Major Subtractions: Radek Faksa, Jiri Hudler, Antti Niemi, Patrick Sharp

Prospects and Picks:
-Miro Heiskanen. The 3rd overall pick in the draft this year, Miro was among the youngest players in the draft but is quite accomplished for his young age and his character shows an age par passed his physical age. He is a sturdy strong skater and can move the puck well, he may need to be a bit grittier in the corners and likely won't be the big scorer but his effect will be felt in opponents trying to score.

-Julius Honka. The Stars have quality defense coming up now. Julius was taken 14th overall in 2014 and has spent time playing for the Finnish and Swiss elite leagues. Unlike Miro, he's more of a scorer with  31 points across 50 games played in the AHL for the Texas Stars. He was brought up for 16 games last year and had 5 points. His plus minus isn't the best and he has to work on his decision making but he should produce at a decent click.

Sleeper Fantasy Asset:
-Alexander Radulov. Much like anyone playing along Connor McDavid, IF (big if here) he stays on the top line with bost Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin, it is unconceivable in my mind that he doesn't eclipse the 54 points he had last year in Montreal. He will get goals, assists, power play points, the works. I'm talking 60 points plus. I see few lines I'd be more jealous of then playing along the pure scoring talents of Seguin and the pure grit, passing and hockey IQ of Jamie Benn.

- Mattias Janmark. The 79th overall pick by the Detroit Red Wings in 2013 is ready to make his impact in the NHL. He played 73 games in the 2015-2016 NHL season two years ago and then sat out all last year due to a knee injury. He scored 29 points in 73 games and I think he is poised for a breakout year as a top 6 forward on the team eclipsing 40+ points.

Cap Situation:
They currently have around $0MM with 24 players signed.

Projected finish
2017-2018 NHL Standings: 17th
Western Conference Standings: 8th
Central Division: 4th

NHL 18th: Philadelphia Flyers (Eastern Conference 10th; Metropolitan Division 6th)

NHL 19th: Winnipeg Jets (Western Conference 9th; Central Division 5th)

NHL 20th: St. Louis Blues (Western Conference 10th; Central Division 6th)

NHL 21st: Boston Bruins (Eastern Conference 11th; Atlantic Division 5th)

NHL 22nd: Buffalo Sabres (Eastern Conference 12th; Atlantic Division 6th)

NHL 23rd: Arizona Coyotes (Western Conference 11th; Pacific Division 5th)

NHL 24th: Los Angeles Kings (Western Conference 12th; Pacific Division 6th)

NHL 25th: New Jersey Devils (Eastern Conference 13th; Metropolitan Division 7th)

NHL 26th: Detroit Red Wings (Eastern Conference 14th; Atlantic Division 7th)

NHL 27th: New York Islanders (Eastern Conference 15th; Metropolitan Division 8th)

NHL 28th: Vancouver Canucks (Western Conference 13th; Pacific Division 7th)

NHL 29th: Florida Panthers (Eastern Conference 16th; Atlantic Division 8th)

NHL 30th: Las Vegas Golden Knights (Western Conference 14th; Pacific Division 8th)

NHL 31st: Colorado Avalanche (Western Conference 15th; Central Division 7th)