2018 Dallas Stars Predictions with Futures Odds and Expert Picks
The Dallas Stars have a distinction I am not too happy about. Over the course of the last three years no team has come close to costing me as much money as they have. I have been optimistic about them heading into each season, and they have disappointed each time. In 2016 they had a stellar 109-point regular season but fell in the second round to the St. Louis Blues in frustrating fashion. The next year they fell off a cliff and didn't even come close to being competitive. And while they fell just short of the playoffs last year, it still felt like the gap between them and true contenders was vast.
This is a team that has some really nice pieces on paper, but they have been consistently less than the sum of their parts. So, will this year be different? The difference between this year and past ones is that I am not invested in them. In the past I thought that they were a standout team. Now I think they are just another team - more or less. So, that probably means that this will be the year they win it all.
Dallas Stars Offseason Moves
The biggest change comes in terms of leadership, as Ken Hitchcock retired after a long NHL career. He won the Stanley Cup in his first stay in Dallas, which ended in 2002, but he couldn't recapture the magic in his only season back last year. So now the team has the third coach in three years. This is a different focus, though. Lindy Ruff and Ken Hitchcock were both old-school NHL coaches. New coach Jim Montgomery played 122 NHL games for five teams - including nine for the Stars - but he has never coached in any capacity in the NHL. That isn't to say he has not been successful, though. He had a strong five-year run at the University of Denver, capped by a National Championship two years ago. It was just a matter of time before he got an NHL job, so Dallas got ahead of the curve here. Nothing is certain, but it's an easy hire to like. Dave Hakstol in Philadelphia has done well following the same career path, and the legendary Bob Johnson won three national titles at Wisconsin before winning a Cup with Pittsburgh.
Two younger players have the biggest chance to make an impact as new faces. Or newish, in one case. Valeri Nichushkin played in Dallas for three years then returned to Russia to play in the KHL for two years, but he is now back in Dallas as a 23-year-old. By all accounts he has matured as a player, and though he isn't an explosive scorer he adds well to the scoring depth. And Miro Heiskanen is a 19-year-old defenseman who the Stars drafted third overall in 2017. He should be ready to make the team now. And keeping in mind the patience required when it comes to young defensemen, he has a chance to be special.
Beyond those two the additions were more journeyman than thrilling. Guys like Blake Comeau, Roman Polak, and backup goalie Anton Khudobin can all contribute, but they are certainly not going to sell tickets.
The Stars got a good one in the first round of the draft this year in Ty
Dellandrea. The center is already slated to return to junior hockey,
though, so his impact is a ways off.
Dallas Stars NHL Outlook
The top line for this team is stellar, but they accounted for 45 percent of the scoring last year, which is too much. They need to find more balance. The team was young last year, so hopefully more experience and a different coaching voice - one more familiar to working with young players - will help them advance.
Goaltending was an issue for a long while with this team, but in bringing in Ben Bishop they hoped they had solved it. He was decent last year until he was injured and missed a big chunk of time, but he didn't recapture the magic he had at his peak in Tampa Bay. The team needs him to find it in a hurry.
The team should be better. But they face a common problem - the rest of the West has gotten better, too. Like them, Calgary, Edmonton and St. Louis are teams that missed the playoffs last year that have worked to avoid doing so again, and the eight playoff teams in the West all at least tried to hold their ground. It is a brutal, brutal conference right now, and it's hard to know if Dallas has done enough.
Dallas Stars Schedule
After a softer opening game hosting Arizona, the team faces a brutal test - home games against Winnipeg, Toronto and Anaheim. The first two are among the Cup favorites, and the last is a perennial playoff team. It's a harsh way to welcome Montgomery into the league, and it will be a very informative stretch as we try to figure this team out.
Dallas Stars NHL Futures Odds
The season win total sits at 94.5 at Bovada , which is a win and a half ahead of the 92 points they had last year. The top line is all represented in Hart Trophy futures, though none among the favorites - Jamie Benn is at +4000, Tyler Seguin is at +5000, and Alexander Radulov trails at +100000. The team is at +3000 to win the Stanley Cup, which has them tied with two other teams as the 14th choice. They are the co-eighth choice in the West.
2017-18 Dallas Stars Predictions
Despite saying I don't like this team anymore, I have to admit that I do. The top line is as good as any in hockey, the young talent is impressive, I believe in Bishop, and I like the coaching hire. I think they will go over the win total at least slightly. As to whether that is enough to make the playoffs this year, it's tough to call. I see them as more likely to be in than out, but nothing short of a total collapse would surprise me. Tough team to bet on at this point.
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