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Trying to read the Stars


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Okay, your a young team with talent who seems to finish 9th or 10th every year, missing the playoffs in the last week of the season, sometimes on the last day. Some type of shakeup is due, so what do you do?

If you are the Dallas Stars and General Manager Joe Nieuwendyk you are faced with a decision of whether to go for it now or retool for a serious run in a couple of years. Joe took the first aproach.

Adding Jarimir Jagr and the ageless Ray Whitney, trading Ott for Derek Roy, and now trading Michael Ryder for 34 year old Erik Cole to combine them with talented young players like Loui Eriksson and Jamie Benn give the Stars a skilled and experienced bunch of forwards who can find the back of the net. Currently the club sits middle of the pack in an unbelievably tight Western conference, with 22 points, tied for sixth place with five teams (!).

I dont see how they are going to make it.

The problem with the Stars is simple, below average blue liners and an overrated Kari Lehtonen.

Lets start with Lehtonen first. Before anyone starts ripping me for picking on an underrated goalie with a great save percentage who makes unbelievable saves let me just say- so what. He has not won, when he had the chance to get the stars into the playoffs a few years ago on the last day of the season after slowly blowing a huge lead with a horrible March, Lehtonen and the Stars lost 5-3 to the punchless Wild. He has not proven he can win a game that matters yet in his career, Ken Dryden in his wonderful book the Game refered to this type of netminder as a good bad team goalie. No pressure, the team is not going to win much anyway, can steal the odd win by standing on his head but blows games with giving up soft ones with equal aplomb. That is Lehtonen. I love him as a fantasy goalie but reality is he is average until he wins. And as year after year goes by without any type of post season it becomes more and more doubtful he ever will.

Second is the putrid defense. The trade of Neal to the Pens a couple of years ago for Goligoski was met with raised eyebrows but truth be told it needed to be made. Yes, Goligoski has holes in his game but he can run the point and has a great first pass which is more than can be said for anyone else on this pedestrian blueline.

Robidas is supposedly on the block, which would thin out an already talentless defense, Dillon looks like he can play, but the rest of the blue line, Daley who has hit the wall and could be replaced with a pylon, Aaron Rome who has no business playing regular shifts and Jordie Benn who is just plain terrible are never going to get the job done.

So lets say the team sneaks in with a lower seed. Against Vancouver or Chicago they would be first round fodder, then what?

Morrow, Jagr, Whitney, Daley, Cole, Fiddler, Nystrom and Robidas are on the wrong side of 30. Roy and Lehtonen will join them next year. This is an organization that is primed for a tremendous fall. They have a few decent prospects, Oleksiak will be an NHL d-man for a decade or better, Dillon looks solid, trading Ribiero for Eakin was a smart move, and Benn and Eriksson are studs, but overall, this team is not in the Calgary class, they have a one year window then they will be in the same class as Columbus.

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Great read Yave! Well done.

I think the Stars loaded up on a few extra vets this season to give the team a shot at post season play. Last season the team was under stresses financially and new ownership wanted more fans in the seats. The Stars do have a solid core of prospects that are 21-24 yrs of age ready to play. http://www.hockeysfuture.com/articles/83023/dallas-stars-minor-league-system-well-stocked-with-young-talent/

So I see this team hanging on until the very last moment.

Goligoski really needs to pick up his game. He was traded to be 1-2 d-man. He needs to start playing like one. I think if the Stars really have no chance to make the playoffs a few of the veterans could be traded to sure up the blue line.

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