During the long wait for the regular season to start, many hockey fans keep their hockey brains busy by planning their perfect fantasy team. The burning question: Where do your favorite Dallas Stars fit on your ideal squad — if they fit at all?
Lucky for you, NHL.com is on your wavelength. Their Fantasy Insiders have scouted every team in the league for the best fantasy values, as well as the guys who may only work on paper, and Matt Cubeta's work on the Stars is now ready for your perusal.
Leading the way — of course — are Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin. Cubeta explains why, as if you needed it:
Each is an elite player. The only reason I give Benn the edge is because of his ability to chip in with penalty minutes (he's averaged 62 PIMs per 82-game season during his career). Benn is arguably the most complete player in fantasy hockey, capable of posting 30-40 goals and 80 points with strong peripheral stats. If his plus-1 rating from last season improved a little bit, he could be the No. 1 fantasy player.
Seguin was well on his way to being one of the top-ranked fantasy players last season before his injury, but even with the missed time he still finished tied for fifth in the NHL with 37 goals and was seventh in points with 77. As we all know, goals are hard to come by, and Seguin is as good as a bet as anyone to score 40-50 times in 2015-16. With the addition of Patrick Sharp and the return of Valeri Nichushkin, the Stars' offense should be primed for a monster season, with Benn and Seguin at the center of things. Make sure both players are selected in the first round of your draft.
But deserving of more credit than he may get is Jason Spezza, who officially comes in as Undervalued as he looks poised for a blockbuster season of his own:
Spezza, 32 and entering his second season with the Dallas organization, finished as the 56th-best fantasy player in Yahoo leagues. But what appeals most to me about Spezza is the addition of Sharp. While Benn and Seguin should team up on the Stars' top line, Spezza and Sharp should combine to make an exciting duo on the second line. Let's also not forget the power-play unit should feature all four forwards; that could mean 30-plus power-play points for the playmaking Spezza. I have him modestly ranked 67th among all players in my offseason rankings, but he could easily provide top-50 or better value this season.
There is, of course, much more at this link. Read this before your fantasy draft. [NHL/Dallas Stars]
Goalie Philippe Desrosiers is one of the Stars' most exciting prospects (and his facial-hair game is strong, too). Mark Stepneski is on the story as Desro prepares to turn pro. [Stars inside Edge]
Travis Morin, the last original Texas Star, has accomplished just about everything possible as an AHL player. What's ahead for the 31-year-old center as he gets ready for his seventh season in Cedar Park? [Texas Stars]
Also in SI: Allan Muir posts a thoughtful look at the NHL's options in the Patrick Kane case and athlete accountability in the post-Ray Rice era. [SI]
Love a good alumni game? How'd you like an entire season of them? Pavel Bure is promoting the new, noncommercial World Legends Hockey League for 45-and-older All-Stars. [Eurohockey.com]
ICYMI: John Klingberg had his 23rd birthday on Friday, August 13. Apparently, he celebrated by giving the finger to Colton Sceviour. (It's a joke. Look down.)
Carolyn Wilke, the number-crunching half of Two Bearded Ladies, has set out to determine the most "clutch" NHL players of 2014-15 (as well as what "clutch" means, exactly). You may be shocked at who comes in at No. 7 in Part 1 — by which I mean, you probably actually will be shocked. [Two Bearded Ladies]
A few days later, she followed up with a refined version in Part 2 that re-weights players according to Time On Ice (TOI). It's like a monolith, because my God, it's full of Stars. [TBL]
By any measure, Tampa Bay Lightning center Steven Stamkos is one of the best players in the NHL right now, which makes it kind of a big deal that he's going into the 2015-16 season without a new contract. [NBC Sports]
Meanwhile, former Star Sergei Gonchar is about to suit up with the Penguins, too.
Los Angeles Kings GM Michael Futa talked with Josh Cooper about some high-profile Kings issues, including the importance of character and the difference between drafting high and drafting low. [Puck Daddy]
Washington Capitals D-man Karl Alzner posted this brief video of himself speaking into a fan so he can talk in robot-voice...
Please tell me you guys have done this to! Haha pic.twitter.com/UPZvUtYiCY— Karl Alzner (@KarlAlzner) August 16, 2015
...regarding which Russian Machine Never Breaks offered this bit of incisive commentary:
even for the players, october can't come soon enoug https://t.co/VszNcl0tSc— RMNB (@russianmachine) August 16, 2015
The University of Maine is home of the state's only NCAA Division I sports program. Last year, the Black Bears spent nearly $300,000 to recruit top athletes, most of it on its two-time national champion men's hockey team. Here's an eye-opening look into the year-round recruiting process at Stars prospect Devin Shore's alma mater. [Portland Press Herald]
Hockey iron man Jaromir Jagr is a veteran of 21 NHL seasons and has played through four work stoppages. And his single game with Germany's Schalker Sharks produced some fascinating stats, as well as a truly remarkable player card. [The Hockey News]
Finally: Sergei Shumakov is at it again. The 23-year-old forward from the KHL's Novosibirsk Sibir, who made hockey headlines with this between-the-legs rebound goal back in January, has been showing off his hand-eye coordination in shootout drills during training camp. Watch this hockey-lacrosse-tennis hybrid-looking thing several times, because it may take a while to sink in.