Dallas Stars Midseason Assessment

Dallas Stars midseason
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Welcome to the midway point of the 2021-2022 NHL season. NHL franchises from coast-to-coast are now refocusing, retooling, and rethinking what they need to do to punch their ticket to the Stanley Cup Playoffs. For the Dallas Stars, this season has proven to be a significant test with a lot of new faces behind an aging veteran core. Our Dallas Stars midseason assessment shows some highlights (and low-lights) for the team and how they are poised to start the second half. To start, check out these midseason honorees who have worn victory green this season:

Dallas Stars Midseason Assessment and Awards

Midseason MVP: Joe Pavelski

This one is pretty cut-and-dry. The 37-year-old centre leads the Stars in all offensive statistical categories. This is the last year on Pavelski’s contract, and he is showing that despite his age, he is still a top NHL talent. The Stars should do everything they can to re-sign Pavelski this offseason. Outside of Pavelski, the Stars do not have consistent offensive production throughout the lineup.

NHL free agent frenzy

Midseason MVYG (Most Valuable Young Gun): Jason Robertson

Outside of Pavelski, Robertson has been the biggest bright spot in this Stars lineup. He’s currently second on the team in points and has enjoyed consistent time on the top line with Pavelski and Roope Hintz. If Robertson keeps this up, he will become the eventual face of this franchise.

Most Influential Offseason Acquisition: Ryan Suter

Suter is experiencing a career renaissance in his new home. Due to injury issues on Dallas’ blueline, Suter has received minutes with top defenceman Miro Heiskanen. He has also provided a calm, veteran presence amongst an otherwise young group. Suter will continue to play a vital role for this team, especially after John Klingberg is inevitably moved.

Most Improved Player: Braden Holtby

New year, new look, new Holtby. The Vancouver experiment clearly was a one-off for the 32-year-old goaltender. Holtby looks more like the Stanley Cup-winning Capitals goaltender of old every time he steps on the ice. He is on pace to drastically improve on his numbers from last year. Currently, his Goals Against Average (2.60) is over a full point better than it was last year (3.67).

Player(s) Needing to Improve in the Second Half: Alexander Radulov, Jamie Benn, & Tyler Seguin

It wasn’t long ago when these three players made up one of the most feared lines in the entire Western Conference. Now, these three are receiving second and third-line minutes and underperforming on their current salaries. Granted, all three players have struggled through injuries over the past few years, but they are still the core of this team. Any hope the Stars have of making the Stanley Cup Playoffs this year hinges on these three players increasing their overall productivity.

Overall Assessment: Trade Deadline Seller, Fall Short of Playoffs

The Stars are currently 5th place in a competitive Central Division and tied for the final Wild Card spot in the Western Conference. This team is truly living on the edge, and general manager Jim Nill will have to make the decision to either sell-off some of their pending free agents at the deadline or go all-in on this group.

Over the next few weeks, the Playoff landscape will become more cemented. Unfortunately, those few weeks will push this team to its limits. Between now and mid-February, the Stars will face the Colorado Avalanche twice as well as the Washington Capitals, Boston Bruins, and Nashville Predators. Those will be tough games for this Stars team to win and may put the final nail in their coffin on this season.

If the Stars season goes south, they are in a position to gear up for the future at the deadline. Pavelski, Radulov, and Klingberg are all in the final year of their contracts and would cost potential suitors a quality ransom at the deadline.

In the weeks following the All-Star break, the Stars’ season will be decided. This team will either find a way to come together and make a run or succumb to a grueling schedule and lose some key players at the deadline. Despite this season not being what Stars fans had hoped, a sell-off at the deadline would improve this team’s stature going into the 2022-23 season.

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