Training Camp starts tomorrow for the Dallas Stars, which means we’re that much closer to the start of the 2019-20 Season. In celebration of surviving the long, hockey-less summer, we’re going to kick off camp with some bold predictions for the 2019-20 regular season.
Here’s the problem — usually when people make “bold” predictions, they’re actually not that crazy. For instance, predicting that Roope Hintz will score 50+ points may be unlikely — including his playoff totals, he would have averaged 34.6 points over an 82 game spread — but if it happened, it wouldn’t exactly blow your mind.
So today, we’re not just making bold predictions. We’re making bold predictions. We’ll start with the least impressive and work our way up to the borderline impossible. Furthermore, none of the predictions will conflict with one another — there won’t be two players predicted to lead the team in points, for instance. So if you want, you could add all of these predictions together to make a super bold prediction for the 2019-20 season.
Anyways, enough of the chit-chat. Let’s get down to business:
Prediction #1: Jamie Benn Leads Stars in Scoring with 90+ Points
There’s two parts to this prediction. The first — Jamie Benn leads Dallas in scoring — doesn’t seem too far-fetched at first glance. After all, Benn is considered one of the Stars’ best players, and he led the team in scoring just two seasons ago in 2017-18.
Then again, last year was rather rough for the Stars’ captain. His 53 points were his worst since his rookie season ten years ago. He was 27 points behind Tyler Seguin, who led the team with 80 points. Not to mention that power forwards tend to decline very poorly once they turn 30 — which Benn did this past July — so it’s arguably more likely that Benn’s numbers get worse, not better.
But these are bold predictions, not reasonable ones. And since the Stars should have a formidable second forward line this season, opponents can’t exclusively play their best defensive options on the Stars’ top line, opening up scoring chances for Benn. Add in some better numbers on the power play now that he’ll be replaced by Pavelski as the net-front presence, and we’ll say he’ll set a career high in points with 90+. (Ed. note: at least!)
Prediction #2: Miro Heiskanen is a Norris Trophy Finalist
Ask any Stars fan who the team’s best defenseman is and they’ll probably say either John Klingberg — generally considered to be the “correct” answer — or Esa Lindell — because those people think offensive defensemen should just be forwards or something. But I’d argue that the best in Dallas is also the youngest: Miro Heiskanen.
After flying under the radar most of last season, he finally started getting national attention once the playoffs rolled around. He now has his fans here and there, but most people would agree that he still has a ways to go before he can be considered one of the league’s best on the blue line.
That opinion will change this season when Heiskanen improves upon his impressive rookie campaign to finish Top 3 in Norris Trophy voting. Remember those Buffalo Sabres fans that insist Rasmus Dahlin is “clearly” better because he was a Calder Finalist and had higher point totals? Take that, naysayers.
Of course, Heiskanen won’t actually win the award. He’ll probably finish behind Victor Hedman and the actual winner, a veteran defender who has never won before because voters apparently treat the Norris like a lifetime achievement award. Still, it’ll likely be the highest award finishing for a Dallas player... right?
Prediction #3: Denis Gurianov Wins the Calder Trophy
Over the past year, the opinion on Denis Gurianov has gone from draft bust to top prospect to almost an afterthought. After putting up a pedestrian 4 points in 23 games last season — and he didn’t really do anything when he “scored” his first goal — many fans have instead decided to get more excited about prospects like Jason Robertson or Ty Dellandrea.
But mark my word — Gurianov will be one of the most impressive players in training camp, immediately solidifying his spot on the team’s second line. Once the season starts, he’ll become a scoring machine, blowing away other rookies like Jack Hughes and Kaapo Kakko without needing ice time on the team’s top power play unit. By the time 2020 rolls around, most PHWA members will have already penciled in Gurianov at the top of their Calder ballot.
After becoming the first player in franchise history to win the Calder Trophy, Gurianov will be heralded as one of the league’s brightest young stars. Stars fans will talk about how they always knew Gurianov was going to be better than players like Mat Barzal and Kyle Connor, all while furiously scrolling through their Twitter history and deleting old tweets. (Ed. note: thanks for the reminder.)
Prediction #4: Corey Perry Leads the Stars in Goals Scored
He was the biggest signing of the Stars’ offseason. An old, veteran player from a former Pacific Division rival, he became a free agent when his previous team decided they couldn’t keep him at such a high cap hit. Now he’s off to defy father time, proving to the world that his recent injury scare won’t spell the end of a Hall of Fame worthy career.
That’s right, Corey Perry will finally give Dallas the pure-goal scorer that they’ve been craving for so long. Immediately finding chemistry with Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin, Perry will surprise many by starting the season on the team’s top line. But once fans see him play again they’ll doubt no more, as Perry will dazzle on the ice and go on to score at least 40 goals, leading Dallas in the category.
After becoming just the second 30+ player in franchise history score 40 goals, Perry will be heralded as one of the league’s brightest old stars. Stars fans will talk about how Perry was always one of their favorite players despite playing for a rival team, all while furiously scrolling through their Twitter history and deleting old tweets. (Ed note: Yeah, or maybe not so much.)
Before we get to our final prediction, feel free to scroll to the comments section and tell us your own predictions for the 2019-20 season, bold or otherwise. Also feel free to voice your opinions on my own predictions. Do you think they’re a bit too outlandish? Not crazy enough? Write it down below, if anything just so I can screenshot it and tell you “I told you so” when it turns out I was right about everything.
Now then, without further ado, the craziest, boldest prediction yet:
Prediction #5: Ben Bishop Stays Healthy the Entire Season
(Ed. note: WHY WOULD YOU SAY THIS OUT LOUD)
Yes, you read that right. Ben Bishop, often the poster boy for injuries prone players, will be healthy all season long. And I don’t mean “play through underlying injuries” healthy — I mean 100%, “best shape of my life” healthy.
But the prediction doesn’t stop there. Not only will Bishop be healthy all season, he’ll also be the only Stars player to not get injured. He’ll suit up for all 82 games while everyone else misses at least one due to pulling a hamstring or something. And while he may not be the only player in the NHL to stay healthy all season, he will be the only goalie.
Hockey fans across the country will hardly believe it. They’ll all stare at Bishop in amazement, then stare in suspicion at the Stars fans who said they’d make a sacrifice if it would guarantee a healthy Bishop. But eventually, everyone will begin to accept the new norm — Ben Bishop is one of the league’s newest “iron men.”
...At least, until he hurts himself during warmups before Game 1 of the first round in the Stanley Cup playoffs. Because even the boldest predictions need a dose of reality in them.
(Ed. note: Tyler’s DBD account has been deleted forever.)