The Dallas Stars, after missing the playoffs for 5 straight seasons, to a big step forward this year by qualifying for the post-season. They battled down to the last weekend of the season, and edged the Phoenix Coyotes for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference, finishing with 91 points. They battled the Anaheim Ducks in the first round but fell short, falling 4 games to 2.
It was a massive off-season deal that changed the direction of the franchise, as they dealt all-around veteran Loui Eriksson, Reilly Smith, Joe Morrow and Matt Fraser to the Boston Bruins for disgruntled center Tyler Seguin, Rich Peverley and Ryan Button. Add to that a new coach in Lindy Ruff, whose veteran experience it was hoped would translate to getting the Stars some success. With all the changes, a return to spring hockey was anticipated if not expected.
- Returning to the post-season for the first time in 6 seasons.
- Seguin and captain Jamie Benn each finished in the top 10 in league scoring
- Rookie Valeri Nichushkin made an immediate impact as an 18 year old, showing some promise to being a power forward that will be a nice fit on the Stars top line in the future.
- Scary incident for Peverley, collapsing on the bench with a cardiac incident, during a game in March against the Blue Jackets. Thankfully he was successfully treated, although he missed the rest of the season and his career is in doubt.
- Sergei Gonchar‘s 22 points and -12 rating had to be a disappointment after signing a 2 year, $10M deal in the off-season to shore up the Stars blue line.
PROGNOSIS FOR NEXT SEASON
It was a learning experience for a lot of Stars, making their first foray into the post-season. The maturation of Seguin and his chemistry with Benn can only mean good things going forward. The Western Conference will only get better, and tougher, but the Dallas Stars are putting the pieces in place to become a player on a consistent basis.
5 QUESTIONS WITH BLACKOUT DALLAS
I got the chance to ask Josh Clark, Staff Writer for Blackoutdallas.com, a few questions about the Stars’ season past and also the future. Here are his responses: