When the buzzer went at the end of regulation in Game 6 of the 2020 Stanley Cup Finals, every single one of the Dallas Stars players looked dejected. After defeating the very best that the Western Conference had to offer in the Calgary Flames, Colorado Avalanche, and Vegas Golden Knights, in the end, they just couldn’t muster the strength to overcome one of the early favorites.
Despite going all the way to the finals, only to miss out by two games, the Stars are in a far more advantageous position than their second-place predecessors. Their first appearance in the last stage for two decades is being given an extended break. As the NHL won’t commence until 2021, Dallas should be getting a bit more of a break than most teams in the past, which may stave off the oft-suffered hangover.
After a busy offseason of signing deals, the Dallas Stars might just be looking to mount another challenge on the Stanley Cup, but they may have to tough it out without a team talisman for a while.
A returning cast of finalists
On December 10, the Dallas Stars opted to part ways with head coach Jim Montgomery, splitting with the two-season boss due to unprofessional conduct. The decision saw Rick Bowness take the helm as the interim head coach. In the team’s most significant move of the offseason, Bowness was officially given the reins as the ninth head coach in the franchise’s history.
With a 20-13-5 regular-season record and a run to the Stanley Cup Finals, Bowness earned his official role behind the bench. Despite his tenure as the interim boss being relatively short, you could see the team molding to his style of play. Furthermore, his one-on-one management skills shone through, with general manager Jim Nill stating that everyone was competing for him as they wanted to see him win.
The GM didn’t have a huge task over the offseason, with the most high-profile expiries being the RFAs. Top of the list was Radek Faksa, who was pivotal to the team’s defense-first mentality. Along with Blake Comeau and Andrew Cogliano, the young center formed the team’s impressive shutdown line that was pivotal to the stars conceding the second-fewest goals in the entire league.
Dallas was also keen to sign restricted free agents Denis Gurianov and Roope Hintz, who scored 29 points and 33 points in the regular season, respectively, and stood as the sixth and seventh top scorers for the Stars in the playoffs. All three RFAs were snapped up, as were two other pivotal defensive players: Andrej Sekera and Anton Khudobin.
Set for a big season, even without Seguin
Team defense is an underrated quality in the NHL, but the Dallas Stars proved that having a sturdy goaltending tandem behind a mostly defense-first team can work wonders: it’s far easier to work scoring opportunities than it is to stop goals. With nine skaters laying down 50 or more shot blocks and 14 skaters dealing at least 50 hits in just the regular season, Dallas became incredibly tough to beat.
As the vast majority of the Stanley Cup runners-up cast is returning, plenty of American NHL fans will be backing the Stars for big things again this season. Now, fans in many states can back their hunches by betting on hockey online. The key markets being looked at before the season starts are the futures. In these, you can make predictions on the NHL standings and who will win the major awards, with the Stars undoubtedly being looked at to repeat their Western Conference triumph. Those eager to enhance their NHL experience may look at the guides on legalbetting.com when it comes to their betting options.
What could cause some troubles in the early stages of the campaign is Tyler Seguin’s surgery. The continually delayed hip surgery has the talismanic center lined up to miss more than a month of the season, as it stands. Seguin wasn’t the only player to come out of the postseason with some time needed on the nurse’s bench, but Jamie Benn and the goaltending duo of Ben Bishop and Khudobin should be able to return.
The official head coach will have plenty of time to perfect his strategies in the offseason and will be thankful to have his workaholic cast returning in Stars jerseys. If the defense and goaltending hold, Dallas will once again be one of the Western Conference’s top competitors.