The Dallas Stars are a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma. They have a top six forward grouping that looks to be, on paper at least, one of the most dynamic offensive groups in the league. The defense showed signs of progressing last season, even if they remain largely comprised of less(er) experienced blueliners. The goaltending remains a giant question mark -- and the preseason games so far haven't really expelled any of the concerns about whether that would improve this season.
So that leaves us all scratching our heads and wondering where this team will end the season. Are they a bubble team? A wild card team? Someone that can dominate the season and win home ice in the playoffs? A dark horse Stanley Cup champion? A basement dweller? Luckily, it seems nobody really knows what to make of this Stars team either.
Sean McIndoe at Grantland went as far as to put the Dallas Stars into his "No Clue Division" of teams for the coming year. Though, he's bought into the strengths of the team enough to overcome questions about defensive zone play and goaltending.
Watchability index: 10/10. Plenty of goals at both ends, tons of skill, and the outside chance of seeing a sneaky Cup contender emerge right before our eyes. There may not be a team that's more fun to watch.
Best case: They lead the league in goals, get the defensive side under control, and challenge for first place in the Central.
Worst case: They lead the league in goals allowed, the offense slips, and they challenge for last place in the Central.
Suggested slogan: We hired an auctioneer to be the PA guy so we could occasionally get one goal announcement done before the next one starts.
Bold prediction: The Stars don't just make the playoffs, they have home ice in the opening round. Yes, I've been suckered in. Yes, again.
(No word yet on whether Jeff K is contemplating auctioneering as a second job, however.) McIndoe's prediction is definitely of the bold variety. As is this next one, where the Stars were picked to finish dead last in the
murder death kill Central division this season by Winging It In Motown's leader, Kyle.
Last in the Central seems out of touch with what this team can do. They did finish ahead of the Colorado Avalanche even with one of the league's worst goals against average, and the Stars can't possibly be that bad again this year in that category, can they? CAN THEY?
If we're being brutally honest, we've seen the Stars play some of their worst hockey in the preseason, which reminded us all of the start they got off to last year, and we might all be thinking about panicking. However, there is hope. The full squad, sans prospects getting a look, has had one game together. ONE. They still have another week to gel in practices and the last preseason game tomorrow.
There's plenty of ways this season will go. One thing is for sure, though, we'll all have one of these faces by the end of the season....