I'm writing this post in response to several comments I've seen seeing that the Stars are going to be a playoff team next year. Even TG and GMJN#2 have seemed to hint at it. My intent isn't to be a downer. My intent to is point out that we should set expectations that make sense for the health of the franchise.
If you look at the post-TDL team, the Stars finished 6-6-1. That period included OUTRAGEOUS point/goal totals from a 3rd line center (Fiddler) and a promising rookie (Chiasson) in addition to some SUPERB goal tending from Lehtonen/Bachman during a 5 game winning streak. I think it's safe to say their output (Fiddler's/Chiasson's) won't be repeated over a full season next year. The 2013 end of season of lineup would probably put up a sub-.500 win/loss total of the course of season. It certainly wasn't a playoff-caliber lineup. Getting out-shot 324 to 405 in 13 games is not the mark of playoff team.
Next year, some of the names will change. Dillon, Smith, Garbutt, Roussel and Eakin are young players that will potentially improve. Chiasson, Oleksiak, Connauton, Nemeth, Gaunce, Fraser and Morrow will probably all at least have a chance to come up and help the NHL squad. They're good players that should get us excited for the future. But none of them are going to transform 2013's end of season lineup into a playoff team.
They're young, they'll make mistakes, and THAT'S OK. The primary goal for next season should be to develop the list of names above, not make the playoffs. I'm not saying the players should settle or accept mediocrity. Every single player on the team should be aiming for the Stanley Cup. But I am saying the fan base (AKA all of us) should be both prepared and willing to experience another playoff-less year for the sake of developing our young players. I should note here that I HATE not making the playoffs. The Bruins are goons, Crosby is a punk, the Red Wings and Blackhawks exist to create bandwagon fans, and Dustin Brown is human excrement. Knowing that all of them are fighting for the Cup right now while the Stars sit at home is terrible. But one end-of-season rebuild isn't going to right the ship. And I'd rather have a strong future to look forward to than a 9th-11th place finish.
So please, for the love of God, if you're telling everyone that you expect next year's team to be a great team, or playoff team, or whatever: stop it already. Try telling everyone it'll be a young, exciting team that you can't wait to cheer for.
Caveat: If GMJM#2 trades up in the draft for an instant impact player and signs/trades for multiple top 6 players during the off-season, we should consider talking playoffs.