After a thrilling run to the Stanley Cup Final, the Dallas Stars settled into a relatively quiet offseason. In fact, it was a little too quiet for some fans, who fretted over the lack of obvious Big Moves.
So what should we read into what the Stars did decide to do? The Athletic’s Saad Yousuf has read the offseason map and found a team that plans to go back and win next time:
The biggest sign is the return of Anton Khudobin. The Stars have a lot of confidence in where top goalie prospect Jake Oettinger currently is and where he’s trending. Handing him the natural No. 2 goaltender role behind Ben Bishop wouldn’t have meant throwing in the towel and may have expedited his own development. However, after the playoff run Khudobin just put together and how close the team came to the ultimate goal with him in net, the urgency to keep the pedal to the metal is greater. The Khudobin signing is team-friendly and has other positive effects, such as weathering a lengthy rehab for Bishop and a having goalie option to expose to Seattle in the expansion draft. But first and foremost, the signing is about hoisting the Stanley Cup in 2021.
The same goes for officially naming Rick Bowness the head coach, especially under terms of two years. Bowness was the interim coach for most of last season and was an assistant in Dallas during the prior campaign. He has good rapport with the players on the team right now and is beloved in the locker room. While many on the outside would have liked to see the Stars perhaps hire a younger coach to bring a more modern, aesthetically pleasing game to the ice, Bowness’ fit outweighs any strategic upgrades that could come with elsewhere. After all, coaching regime transitions take time. The Stars’ time is now.
Yousuf also reminds us that the Stars’ current roster picture has been years in the making. Will 2021 be the year it all comes into focus?
A championship window is an indication of the main figures involved in the pursuit of a title. It doesn’t necessarily mean there’s doom on the other side. In fact, the Stars are decently positioned with proven young talents in [Miro] Heiskanen, [Denis] Gurianov and [Roope] Hintz as well as young hopefuls like Thomas Harley, Jason Robertson and Oettinger to be contenders beyond the next few years.
But the Stars have been building toward this since 2015, when [Jamie] Benn won the Art Ross, [Tyler] Seguin had been in Dallas for a while and core pieces such as [Radek] Faksa, [John] Klingberg and Esa Lindell were announcing their arrivals. There were experiences gained; a second-round playoff run in 2016, a should-be playoff team missing the postseason in 2018, going two rounds deep in 2019 and then coming up two wins short of a Stanley Cup title in 2020.
There’s more behind the paywall. [The Athletic DFW]
NHL.com has posted its in-depth review of the Dallas Stars and is promoting it with this photo of Miro Heiskanen, and this weirdly perfunctory tweet.
Meanwhile, at Victory Plaza, Black Friday is still going to be a thing. Mask up before you go.
Get up to 70% OFF this Friday at the AAC! Great deals to grab your favorite Stars fan an item for the holidays!— Stars Hangar (@StarsHangar) November 23, 2020
Free Parking in the Lexus Garage
Entry at the Northside Doors
Our Frisco location will be closed that day, so come see us downtown! #GoStars pic.twitter.com/ujqjmy6Yct
Around The Leagues
The Chicago Blackhawks have secured the coaching services of Team USA great Kendall Coyne Schofield, as they announce a batch of hires that include former Star Erik Condra.
Meanwhile, the NHL is running into trouble in trying to meet its own deadline for the start of the 2021 season.
The league and players are running out of time to start the season Jan. 1 as previously planned as pandemic-related problems persist https://t.co/Y5w16j9ShC— Hockey Night in Canada (@hockeynight) November 25, 2020
From Theo Fleury to Patrik Elias, these players fought back against cancer, Crohn’s disease, and other health dangers to carve out their places in hockey history.
Sad news: Fred Sasakamoose, an Ahathkakoop Cree who became one of the NHL’s first indigenous players, has died at age 86 from complications related to COVID-19.
Fred Sasakamoose, one of the first indigenous players in the NHL, died Tuesday at the age of 86. He had been hospitalized with COVID-19. https://t.co/Coi5shazc1— NHL.com (@NHLdotcom) November 24, 2020
A look back, and a look forward. Enjoy.