Before the Dallas Stars can win their next Stanley Cup, they must win the Central Division. And let’s face it, winning the Central may be the hardest thing a #MurderDeathKill Division team will do all season.
Craig Custance takes a look at all seven teams to see how they measure up to the reigning champions – the 2017-18 Washington Capitals. Custance evaluated them according to five factors he says were the Caps’ greatest strengths: great centers, game breakers, offensive defensemen, size, and a playoffs-hardened core group.
The “great centers” answer is easy, sort of:
The Stars have a great one in Tyler Seguin, at least for one more year. That’s a start that gives them the kind of franchise forward Stanley Cup teams are built around. Radek Faksa is great as a No. 3 center. He’s a Selke contender. Martin Hanzal may or may not return to full health. He’s a big question mark. So is Jason Spezza at this point in his career. Either we’re witnessing the steady decline of him as a player or he’s set up for a bounce-back season with a new coach. Because of Seguin’s high-end skill and Faksa’s two-way play, we’ll give the Stars the check mark here but understand if you disagree.
And “offensive defensemen” lines up well – but mostly on paper, for now:
John Klingberg certainly qualifies. He had 67 points last season and it was his first year without scoring double-digit goals. He’s a stud whose ice time has increased every single season since breaking into the league. And he’s still just 25. The problem is the drop-off after that is pretty significant in terms of defensemen generating a ton of offense. Julius Honka certainly has potential on this front but the pressure falls on the shoulders of Miro Heiskanen. If he’s everything the Stars believe he is as a defenseman, they’re in great shape here. For now, half credit.
There’s much more behind the paywall. [The Athletic]
And there’s more from the NHL Network, as Mike Johnson and Dan Rosen take a look at the Stars’ upcoming season.
Let go of your Seguin Extension Anxiety for just a moment as you watch this clip of Segs in offseason training.
Think about the Klingberg sweetheart deal as you learn where he places among the NHL’s top 20 current defensemen. The countdown airs at 6 p.m. CDT Sunday, August 12, on the NHL Network.
There’s more, more, more Klinger at the Stars site, as senior writer Mike Heika breaks down his biggest season yet.
Klinger lit it up last season. He was 3rd in scoring among NHL defensemen and 6th in voting for the Norris Trophy. Where is his ceiling? https://t.co/ekSaYrJgul— Dallas Stars (@DallasStars) August 9, 2018
Speaking of countdowns, hockey fan and YouTuber OhNyquist places Miro among the top five 2019 Calder Trophy sleeper candidates.
There’s been a Jason Spezza (and Connor McDavid) sighting at the Rogers Cup.
The Stars are giving away swag to a lucky fan who can guess which numbers will adorn the Victory Green sweaters of Blake Comeau, Anton Khudobin and Roman Polak.
New names and new numbers.— Dallas Stars (@DallasStars) August 8, 2018
Comment what numbers you think Comeau, Khudobin and Polak will wear. If you get all three correct, you could win a Stars jersey courtesy of @StarsHangar! pic.twitter.com/2eQY2G0K9C
And if you’ve been waiting for single-game tickets, here’s your heads up.
Single game tickets go on sale Wednesday, Aug. 15. at 10 AM CT.— Dallas Stars (@DallasStars) August 9, 2018
Get yours a day EARLY by signing up for our Stars Insider e-newsletter. You'll have first dibs on the best seats at the best prices. https://t.co/ll4jGBzcu7
Around the League(s)
To tide you over until this Sunday’s Top 20 Defensemen special, David Satriano lists five blueliners who just missed the list – from Tyson Barrie to Marc-Edouard Vlasic. [NHL]
Arizona Coyotes forward Christian Dvorak just got the Nick Bjugstad deal.
The Coyotes have locked up forward Christian Dvorak for six more years. https://t.co/aJKo2GgpqC— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) August 9, 2018
How is the elite-center market shaping up for the New Jersey Devils’ 2018 Hart Trophy winner, Taylor Hall? It’s all interconnected....
Also at THN: On the 30th anniversary of the Wayne Gretzky trade, Jared Clinton compiled end notes on the other players involved – from Martin Gelinas to Marty McSorley.
The Great One is still staying busy, now as an ambassador for youth hockey in China.
As China looks to develop its hockey profile, it will get a boost from the Great One himselfhttps://t.co/fiVIeDeRh2— SI NHL (@SI_NHL) August 10, 2018
The Good Dogs miss hockey, too. Enjoy.