The 2019-20 regular season was not kind to Jamie Benn and Joe Pavelski, who posted some of the worst performances of their careers. But come playoff time, both players flipped the script — without either veteran, the Stars likely would not have made it as far as they did.
The two players combined for 21 of the 61 goals by Stars forwards (yes, more than a third of the goal-scoring up front!), and were fringe candidates for the Conn Smythe Trophy had the Stars beat the Lightning and captured the Stanley Cup. The performances were exactly what the Stars needed in the postseason, and also what they were missing in the regular season.
Dallas will be expecting both players to build off of their playoff performances in the upcoming season. Perhaps the biggest key to unlocking their full potential will be finding the right linemates:
The easy solution could be to elevate Pavelski between Benn and Radulov, since Radulov’s possession style links well with Pavelski and Benn. It was something the Stars used in the final three games against Tampa Bay, but only 8:43 total during the regular season at 5 on 5.
You can read more from Matthew DeFranks here.
ICYMI, the schedule for the 2020-21 season has been released:
Our 2020-21 schedule is here!— Dallas Stars (@DallasStars) December 23, 2020
We'll open the season at Florida on Jan. 14 and host Nashville in our home opener at @AACenter on Jan. 22
Full Schedule » https://t.co/BBlMZBXWWj pic.twitter.com/Qlml72LlkN
Saad Yousuf breaks down the schedule in further detail:
Dallas Stars 2021 schedule analysis: Dates and numbers to know.— Saad Yousuf (@SaadYousuf126) December 23, 2020
— Things break really well for the Stars. Not as many back-to-backs and the ones they do have are backloaded.
— Weirdly, no games on Wednesdays or Fridays lol
— Where "practice days" fall
Around the League
We have some roster moves around the league! First, the Ottawa Senators sent off a 2nd rounder to the Arizona Coyotes in return for Derek Stepan:
The @Senators have acquired forward Derek Stepan from the @ArizonaCoyotes in exchange for a 2021 second-round pick.https://t.co/ICYYZMUPKu— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) December 27, 2020
But today they recouped the pick by helping bail the Tampa Bay Lightning out of their cap problems:
News Release: The #Sens have acquired defenceman Braydon Coburn, forward Cedric Paquette and a second-round draft pick in 2022 from @TBLightning in exchange for Marian Gaborik and Anders Nilsson: https://t.co/gXNGpcPrJ9 pic.twitter.com/logp2H3Xt6— Sens Communications (@Media_Sens) December 28, 2020
Speaking of finding ways around the salary cap, the St. Louis Blues have signed Mike Hoffman to a Professional Tryout with the intention of signing him once the season begins:
It appears what the Blues are doing is waiting until the start of the season to sign Hoffman, which would allow them to wait to put Tarasenko and Steen on Long-Term Injury Reserve, allowing them to maximize their LTIR money. This points to Hoffman joining the Blues. #stlblues— Jeremy Rutherford (@jprutherford) December 28, 2020