In this 31 part series, I will be working my way back from 31st to 1st in my projected 2019-2020 standings. I will first note some ongoing trends that are happening in the league. Goals scored per game went up for the fourth consecutive season (at 3.01 goals per game last year), shots against finally dipped last season to 31.3 per game after increasing for four consecutive seasons previously. It’s clear the league’s push towards offense is yielding its intended effect.
Fourteenth up are the Dallas Stars who are in their 26th season as an NHL team. They have made the playoffs twice in the last four years. Last year they lost in game seven of the second round to the Stanley Cup winning St. Louis Blues
2018 – 2019 NHL Stats
- NHL Standings: 15th
- Goals for Rank: 29th
- Goals against Rank: 2nd
- PP Rank: 11th
- PK Rank: 5th
Projected 2019-2020 NHL Stats
- NHL Standings: 17th
- Western Conference Standings: 8th
- Central Division Standings: 5th
- Coach: Jim Montgomery (2nd year coaching the Stars; 43-32-7 regular season; 7-6 post season)
On offense, they have issues. They were 20th in shots on goal and 29th in goals for. For context, I enjoy their top line of Jamie Benn, Tyler Seguin and Alexander Radulov, beyond that I even think Roope Hintz, Joe Pavelski and Andrew Cogliano could be in for good years. One issue, of the six players I just mentioned, four of them are age 30 or older. This team has one of the older forward units in the NHL and over the course of a season that could lead to injuries. Joe should provide some much needed offense for the team but I think this brings them closer to an average unit and still far from anything above average.
Defensively, they are average allowing the 16th most shots against last season. They have an amazing top two in Esa Lindell and John Klingberg who combined for 21 goals, 77 points a +20 and 27 power play points. I’m even optimistic that Miro Heiskanen could take a step forward in his 2nd season; but after those three I’m real nervous about Roman Polak, Jamie Oleksiak and Andrej Sekera. I was not crazy about Esa’s flop against the Blues last season but I can’t take away from the raw talent and defensive abilities that he possesses.
In net, Ben Bishop really carried the team last year as they allowed the 2nd fewest goals despite allowing the 16th most shots against. He had an amazing 1.98 GAA (2nd best in NHL) and a .934 SV% (best in NHL) and you better believe those numbers are going to regress this year. This doesn’t mean he’s bad, it just means we see more of a top seven goalie and less of the best goalie in the league. To put this in context, people were excited in 2015-2016 when he posted a 2.06 GAA and a .926 SV% with the Tampa Bay Lightning and then followed that up with a 2.55 GAA and .911 SV% the next season.
Behind the bench, Jim Montgomery joined the NHL last season after coaching in Denver for five years where he won the NCAA championship in 2017. Dallas had some issues airing out the first half of last year but the ship was righted and turned around in the 2nd half. I think he is still on a learning curve and will continue to hit some bumps along the way but long term I think he could be a good coach.
- Joe Pavelski
- Corey Perry
- Valeri Nichushkin
Prospects and Picks
Ty Dellandrea — The 13th overall pick in the 2018 draft moved up from the OHL (where he had 22 goals and 63 points across 60 games last season) to the AHL where he put up 2 goals and 3 points in 11 games. There are serious steps left to go but I think he could be a valuable asset to the Stars in a year or two as he continues to mature and work his way up the leagues.
Sleeper Fantasy Asset
Roope Hintz — If he ends up as a top six forward on a line with Pavelski I think he could see a nice bump in points. Last season he had 9 goals and 22 points across 58 games including six power play points. I think he could get closer to 45-50 points over a full season with better line-mates. Add to this he put up 87 hits and 36 blocked shots not to mention he won 217 face-offs. If Pavelski is on the line Roope probably moves to wing but he has shown he is capable of a producing across multiple categories. He’s 22 and he’s still building, growing and maturing and finally he’s in a contract year this season.
Cap Situation: (per CapFriendly)
$80.5MM Spent; $0.9MM in Cap room; 22 players signed.