Monday, August 15, 2016

2017 Pool Projections: Dallas

In the 2016 season, the Dallas Stars showed us all that they could shoot out the lights in most barns and have themselves a whale of a regular season, winning the Central Division by a reasonable margin.  Of course, through the season, they didn't really sort out their goaltending situation and their defense couldn't make up the difference in the playoffs and that excellent regular season went for naught.

If you're showing up to this hockey pool-related post though, you're more concerned about whether or not those same Dallas Stars can repeat the feat, pushing the pace of the game in their division and I think the simple answer is yes.

The Stars are still rocking one of the more dynamic duos in the NHL, as Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin have certainly done enough in the last three seasons to inspire some very high selections again this October.  Now, if they can inspire the rest of the team to become just a little bit better, then the fireworks show will be a certainty in 2017.

Now, if the team's management can provide the team a solid defensive base and the coaching staff can commit to one goaltender, the Stars may actually have a great team moving forward.  For now, they remain a good regular season/hockey pool team, which you should feel comfortable picking from again this year.

Player Pos 16/17 Proj Rookie
Jamie Benn F 85 N
Tyler Seguin F 80 N
Jason Spezza F 60 N
Patrick Sharp F 60 N
John Klingberg D 60 N
Antti Niemi G 50 N
Kari Lehtonen G 50 N
Cody Eakin F 40 N
Valeri Nichushkin F 40 N
Ales Hemsky F 35 N
Antoine Roussel F 30 N
Radek Faksa F 30 N
MattIas Janmark F 25 N
Patrick Eaves F 25 N
Julius Honka D 25 Y
Johnny Oduya D 20 N
Dan Hamhuis D 20 N
Jordie Benn D 20 N
Patrik Nemeth D 15 N
Adam Cracknell F 10 N
Jamie Oleksiak D 10 N
Andrew Bodnarchuk D 5 N
Stephen Johns D 5 Y

Table last updated on August 5th

Most Intriguing or Breakout Player

Believe the hype, John Klingberg is here to stay.  The Swedish defender broke into the league in the 2015 season with 40 points and then was able to follow that up with 58 points in the 2016 season.  One would think that he could jump another 20 points up the scoring ranks, but I think there will be a sudden realization from other teams in the NHL, that this guy is quite good and needs to be taken seriously, more so than before.

My projection in the 60-point range says that he could still move up a little bit, but will probably see a little more resistance from the other teams in the NHL and you might be able to argue some complacency, thanks to a brand new contract extension that will take him through the foreseeable future.

Klingberg is definitely part of a list that is closing the gap between the superstar defensemen (Karlsson & Letang) to the middle of the pack, where drafting them in the hockey pool can really make a big difference.

First Round Picks

The combination of Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin is very attractive to many and they will both be 1st round picks in October, I'm sure.  Benn was 4th in pool scoring and Seguin was 24th (after missing 10 games) will be nice and close together at the draft, as they are on the ice.  The talent these two possess has really come together and made for a devastating unit.

Other Pool Worthy Forwards

You can go right down the list and find a good number of players that can perform admirably for your hockey pool team... Jason Spezza, Patrick Sharp, Cody Eakin and Valeri Nichushkin will all be leaned on to support the top two, while guys like Ales Hemsky, Antoine Roussel and others will have to chip in here and there.

Other Pool Worthy Defense

Klingberg is the highlight here, while the other five or more defensemen that would act as the supporting cast, would be no better than a late round pick.  The Stars are likely hopeful that rookie Julius Honka can finally make the jump up to the bigs and produce, but he is still on the young side, so he might not get pushed too quickly.

Goaltending Situation

The Dallas Stars still have both Kari Lehtonen and Antti Niemi in their ranks and in the playoffs, it was win and you stay in and it was pretty much an even split through the regular season as well.  Not much has changed here, so don't get too ahead of yourself taking one over the other, it doesn't appear likely that either one is really going to run away with it.

Team To Pick From?

The offense from this team should be fairly impressive this season, so they become a little less of a gamble with those late round picks.  If you were to settle on a blueliner, you could very well get something a bit better than the projections or even some of their younger forwards, they could certainly come in and dazzle.

Unsigned Players and Salary Cap

Salary CapThe Stars need to take care of one key restricted free agent, forward Valeri Nichushkin, who is coming out of his entry-level deal.  There is still plenty of time to get the job done and the assumption will be that it will be a bridge deal in the 2-year range.

The Stars have plenty of room to work with, as their current projected roster has $6.3 million left underneath the cap ceiling to fill the role.


Confirmation of Jamie Benn's World Cup availability after his abdominal/core muscle surgery is still up in the air, but that shouldn't affect his start to the regular season.  The recovery time was going to be pretty tight for the exhibition tournament, but with another month to the start of the NHL season, he was going to be good to go for opening night.

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