Wednesday, August 15, 2018

2019 Pool Projections: Dallas

The Dallas Stars remain a wild card team, which is capable of some incredible offense, but the question marks still remain about their defense and their overall team game.  This team took some positive strides in the 2018 season and it appears that they have made some more moves in the right direction in this off-season, which should help them close the gap, which was only 3 points, to a playoff spot in the Western Conference.

Defensively, the team added a little bit more of a home body in Roman Polak and there is a chance that they could add their 2017 1st round draft pick in Miro Heiskanen to the mix, both could really help their back end and help make the team a little more difficult to score on, as their offense continues to work magic.

The Stars also tinkered a little up front, adding Blake Comeau through unrestricted free agency and they finally welcomed back Valeri Nichushkin to the fold, which should be a couple of big additions to the team in some depth scoring roles.

If management has played their cards right and everything does happen to come together like it very well could, the Central Division automatically gets even more difficult to play in, already hosting some of the league's best teams through last season.  Nevertheless, the Stars could be a pretty good team to pull some points from for your hockey pool team, as you can see below.

Player Pos 18/19 Proj Rookie
Ben Bishop G 85 N
Jamie Benn F 80 N
Tyler Seguin F 80 N
Alexander Radulov F 70 N
John Klingberg D 60 N
Blake Comeau F 40 N
MattIas Janmark F 40 N
Valeri Nichushkin F 40 N
Radek Faksa F 35 N
Miro Heiskanen D 30 Y
Devin Shore F 30 N
Jason Spezza F 30 N
Anton Khudobin G 25 N
Esa Lindell D 25 N
Remi Elie F 20 S
Stephen Johns D 20 N
Tyler Pitlick F 20 N
Brett Ritchie F 20 N
Julius Honka D 15 S
Roman Polak D 15 N
Martin Hanzal F 15 N
Marc Methot D 10 N
Gemel Smith F 10 S
Erik Condra F 5 N

Table last updated on August 10th

Most Intriguing or Breakout Player

The last season that Valeri Nichushkin played with the Stars was the 2016 season and back then, he finished with 29 points in 79 games, barely making a name for himself with the club, despite some pretty high expectations.  The last couple of years, he has been over in Russia, playing in the KHL, where his numbers haven't been all that stellar, in all honesty.

Last year, he played in 50 games for CSKA Moscow, scoring 16 goals and 27 points, which was 87th in league scoring among skaters.  Okay, he would be more than pool worthy in a KHL hockey pool, but that might not translate all that well in the NHL, but it does make for an interesting story and he'll be intriguing to watch.

First Round Picks

The Dallas Stars definitely have options this year, like they have had in the last few years, but it will be a matter of when everyone will want to take these guys.  Right now, I have three possible candidates from Dallas that could potentially make the 1st round of the draft, goaltender Ben Bishop could be a lock for a pick, while the two offensive dynamos, Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin, are in the mix, but could again, fall to the 2nd round, outside of the goalie rush.  If you're expecting big things from the Stars, then these are your guys.

Other Pool Worthy Forwards

Alexander Radulov wasn't too far off the top players' pace last season and that leads me to believe he will be close again this season, while newcomer Blake Comeau should find some quality minutes with some talented players.  Young players Mattias Janmark and Radek Faksa have already started to make their marks as well and they could be in line for somewhat of a breakout season, but I will be looking at them to be the better bargain players, picking them at a reasonable level and thinking they can push for a lot more.

Other Pool Worthy Defensemen

John Klingberg has done very well in the previous three seasons and is now among the blueline scoring elite and if this team is to pick up points, he'll be front and centre.  He'll certainly be a great option in the early rounds.  The rest of the blueline, however, is still way up in the air on how the roster will shake out.  Last year's 1st round pick in the entry draft, Miro Heiskanen, has a shot at making the roster and if he does, I like him to be pool worthy, while Esa Lindell emerged as a collector of points on this team and he was worthy to boot.

Goaltending Situation

There's a new face in the number two slot and he doesn't carry a huge salary cap hit, like some of the previous backups in Dallas over the last couple of years, but he has been brought on as insurance.  Anton Khudobin played a fair amount in Boston last season, while Tuukka Rask saw some struggles, and he did quite well.  The Stars will need that sort of reliability again... you know, just in case.

Team to Pick From Late?

I do have Dallas in the top half of the scoring ranks among teams and their skaters and there's definitely potential for more scoring out of this bunch, possibly making some good sleeper picks.  Devin Shore was so close to being worthy last season, he has been fairly consistent in the 30-point range and could go higher.  The decline of Jason Spezza is well-documented, but if he got his game back together, you could see some people sleep on him.  At the back, a guy like Stephen Johns, with a new contract, could find some more ice-time and more points as well.

Unsigned Players and Salary Cap

Currently, I have the Stars in with a 24-man roster, thanks to the injury below, and they are nicely situated with a $3 million buffer below the salary cap ceiling and no other restricted free agents to sign.  A buffer like that could be a huge factor at the trade deadline, if they are calling and looking to add on for a playoff run.


Forward Martin Hanzal underwent back surgery back in March and his original timetable for a return was between six and seven months, which would have had him back in time for training camp, but it doesn't look like that will be the case.  It sounds more like a November/December return for the veteran forward, so you may want to side step his name at the draft, if you haven't already scratched his name off.

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