Dallas Stars Daily Links: The Fight For The Central

Mike Heika previews the division that put the #MurderDeathKill in NHL. Plus, the AHL’s new team, the NHL’s new rules, and more.

In a way, the Dallas Stars and their fans are fortunate that they play in the most competitive division in hockey. The Central Division is where iron goes to sharpen iron, and teams that want to contend must be prepared to fight every night for bragging rights.

The players welcome the challenge, writes Stars senior staff writer Mike Heika:

“It’s been like that ever since I came into the league. I think it’s probably the best division in the league,” said Stars defenseman John Klingberg. “I think it’s a good thing we’re playing in that division. It’s going to help us when we get into the playoffs.”...

”I think it’s up for grabs,” said Stars goalie Ben Bishop. “You look at every team in the division, and I think anyone has a chance to win the division. Every team in the Central has gotten better and it’s a good test for everybody. It’s fun.”

What’s the landscape like this year? Here’s how Heika ranks the home team in his Central preview:

The Stars have been a “win-now” team for a few years, and the hope is they now have the pieces and experience in place at the same time. Second-year head coach Jim Montgomery should be more comfortable and better poised to get the Stars off to a fast start. Goalie Ben Bishop was runner-up for the Vezina Trophy and appears ready to repeat last season’s performance. And Joe Pavelski and Corey Perry have been added to Tyler Seguin, Jamie Benn and Alexander Radulov in hopes of giving the Stars some scoring depth.

So, can Dallas make a run at the Blues for the top team in the Central and then go on to find playoff success? It will be a step-by-step journey. The Stars have battled injuries in recent seasons, and have some injury-prone players this year. They believe they have the best depth they have had in recent seasons, but also have to replace forwards like Valeri Nichushkin, Brett Ritchie and Tyler Pitlick. The opportunity is there to upgrade the depth in all areas, but these new players have to go do that.

As always, there’s more at Mike’s place. [Dallas Stars]

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