Flashback to the end of the 2016-17 Dallas Stars seasons — the Stars had just finished with their worst record since 1995-96. There were many reasons for that, but one of the main contributors was poor play between the pipes. Goaltenders Kari Lehtonen and Antii Niemi were not getting the job done, and with a barren prospect pipeline, there wasn’t any help on the way.
But things started to change that offseason. First and foremost, the Stars traded for and extended Ben Bishop, who put up solid numbers in his first season and was a Vezina finalist in his second. Bishop is expected to regress a bit from his .934 SV%, but the Stars will still be in good hands:
From a technical standpoint, there isn’t much for Bishop to improve on. His propensity to allow the occasional bad goal greatly decreased last season, and as the admiral of the Dallas defense, his communication skills were among the big reasons why the Stars survived a rash of injuries. It really comes down staying healthy, and even if his numbers drop compared to last season, the Stars should still be in pretty good hands.
Another key addition that offseason was Jake Oettinger, who was drafted with the 26th overall pick. Oettinger will be playing his first full season of professional hockey this year with the Texas Stars, and should give Dallas fans hope about the future in the crease:
Oettinger is the shiny prospect in the goalie cupboard right now. He doesn’t have many flaws and hasn’t been exposed by pro-level shooters yet. This season will partially be about being exposed and learning how to adjust and tweak his game to really take a jump.
Of course, if there is no needed adjustment period, the Stars really have a top prospect who could challenge for the NHL backup role in his early 20s.
You can read more about the Stars’ goaltending pipeline from Sean Shapiro here.
Speaking of Stars draft picks from 2017, here is a must-read on top forward prospect Jason Robertson:
Here’s an excellent in-depth look at the impact Joe Pavelski should have with the Stars:
Before the Stars signed Joe Pavelski, Jim Montgomery watched all 38 of his goals last season. Since July 1, I did the same. Then I consulted the analytics. Then I talked to Montgomery.— Matthew DeFranks (@MDeFranks) August 6, 2019
An in-depth look at how Joe Pavelski fits with the Stars offense: https://t.co/SnPBOgzuq6
Are the Stars a Stanley Cup contender? Everyone is eager to prove themselves as a spotlight shifts over Dallas:
Nill: "We have a lot to prove, so we need to keep the hunger there and put the work in every day."— Dallas Stars (@DallasStars) August 8, 2019
Ready or not, here we come. https://t.co/7pnysbfc5U
Around the League
The Stars aren’t the only ones with something to prove. Here are five players hoping to silence any doubters this season:
ICYMI, Down Goes Brown created a fun lineup game the other day. He featured the Stars, but did he really pick the best lineup?
The NBC schedule is out, so who are the chumps and who are the champs?
Wysh List: NHL national TV schedule winners and losers https://t.co/cWh55uelFb— Greg Wyshynski (@wyshynski) August 9, 2019
Finally, how confident are Stars fans in the team’s front office? Pretty decently, if you ignore drafting that is: