Better luck next year: The Dallas Stars should have Stanley Cup expectations
An already strong roster looks even better after a significant free agent signing.
Welcome back to Better Luck Next Season where we will take a look at what went wrong, what went right, and what sits ahead for all of the teams that missed the Stanley Cup Playoffs or were eliminated from the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Today we look at the Dallas Stars who are already one of the best teams in the NHL and managed to get even stronger this offseason with a significant free agency addition.
I am not going to go as far as to say this is a Stanley Cup-or-bust season for the Dallas Stars, mostly because I loathe that mindset and the way it sets you up for disappointment. Even the best teams in sports have the odds stacked against them at the start of the season when it comes to winning a championship. Only one team is walking away with the trophy, and chances are it is not going to be yours no matter how great it is.
Even so, some teams do have more realistic championship expectations than others, and the 2023-24 Dallas Stars should be very high on that list.
They were already one of the best teams in the league this past season in reaching the Western Conference Final and are bringing back the same core of talent. They also managed to make it even better with what I think was one of the best free agent signings made by any team this summer, while also bringing back a potential breakout star that is already on the roster.
Before we get into that, a quick rundown of the returning players that are going to play the biggest roles:
— Jake Oettinger, when he is on top of his game, can steal games or even a series in net. He has the ability to be a top-tier goalie in the league, and nothing changes a team or its potential more than that.
— Miro Heiskanen is a bonafide No. 1 defenseman that is not only coming off of a monster year offensively (73 points in 79 games), but is also just now entering his prime years.
— They also have what is one of the NHL’s best top lines in the trio of Jason Robertson, Roope Hintz and Joe Pavelski. That trio has played more than 1,544 minutes of 5-on-5 hockey together over the past two regular seasons and has completely dominated the league. In those minutes they have outscored teams by a 103-59 margin and controlled more than 60 percent of the expected goals, scoring chances and high-danger scoring chances. They not only dominate, they are also one of the most exciting lines to watch in the league.
— As good as that group is, five players are not going to be enough to win. Another big part of Dallas’ success this past season was the fact Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin both have resurgent years offensively and helped provide some much-needed secondary scoring depth. Along with the free agent signing of Mason Marchment the Stars actually had multiple scoring lines they could run out at teams and one of their most balanced lineups in years.
All of them are back.
But there are two other players I am looking at on their roster that could be what help put them over the top.
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