This is the latest installment in THN.com’s “Three Burning Questions” series – three big questions for every NHL team before the start of the next regular season.
We ask three burning questions about the Dallas Stars in today’s brief.
THREE BURNING QUESTIONS FOR STARS IN 2022-23:
1. How much do Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin have left in the tank? As Dallas’ highest-paid players for years, much is expected of star forwards Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin, and the duo haven’t produced enough offense to justify their nearly $10 million per season salaries. . The stars’ owner, Tom Gaglardi, has said so publicly, and no one can really argue with him. Seguin was marginally better than Benn, posting 24 goals and 49 points in 81 games, while Benn generated 18 goals and 46 points in 82 games.
Both 30-somethings have plenty of miles on their NHL odometers, but those totals just aren’t acceptable given how much space they occupy in the salary cap. And the worst part is that Dallas is responsible for the salaries of Seguin and Benn for the next five and three seasons, respectively. A buyout of either or both seems highly likely before they reach the end of their contracts.
In the meantime, Benn and Seguin plan to be two-thirds of the Stars’ second line, alongside new acquisition and former Florida Panthers winger Mason Marchment. They’ll likely get 17 minutes of ice time per game, and for Dallas to stay relevant in the highly competitive Central Division, they’ll need Seguin and Benn to make a bigger impact in the offensive zone. If one or both can’t step up or are hit by the injury bug again, the Stars will struggle to keep pace with the other five playoff contenders in Central.
2. What is the Stars high-grade forward depth? The Stars have had very little turnover this summer, with only veteran forward Alex Radulov and former defenseman John Klingberg leaving the roster. Klingberg’s absence will hurt the defensive corps, but the Stars still have plenty of depth at the back. The same cannot be said for the attacking squad, which has elite talent in young forwards Jason Robertson and Roope Hintz, and star striker Joe Pavelski – who, at 38, has posted a record team and a career high with 54 assists. and 81 points last year.
However, once you get past Dallas’ second line, you enter a questionable group of 33-year-old Luke Glendenning of veteran center Radek Faska (who has never produced more than 30 points in seven NHL seasons ), a pair of 23-year-olds (Marian Studenic and Jacob Peterson), 25-year-old winger Denis Gurianov and 26-year-old winger Joel Kirivanta. This is not a group that will intimidate naysayers.
All-star general manager Jim Nill currently has about 6.3 million cap space, but most, if not all, could go to restricted free agent Robertson, so Dallas should be capped by the start of the season. season. This means that all moves made by Nill will have to be done dollar for dollar. That means the Stars’ depth up front is likely to remain somewhat thin. If someone crucial gets injured, it could trigger the team’s downfall in 2022-23.
3. Can new head coach Peter DeBoer keep the Stars in the playoff draw? The Stars parted ways with head coach Rick Bowness after their playoff loss to Calgary last spring, and Nill opted to go with veteran bench manager Peter DeBoer to replace him. DeBoer, now on his fifth NHL team, got a four-year deal from Nill – who, oddly enough, only got a one-year extension this week, leaving DeBoer locked in two years older than Nill with the Stars. It speaks to Gaglardi’s desire to win, and to win now, so DeBoer will be under tremendous pressure to not only make the postseason, but a deep playoff run as well.
DeBoer’s previous NHL stint with the Vegas Golden Knight had its share of rocky moments, particularly his relationship with starting goaltender Robin Lehner last year. He has experience managing a winning team, but he faces a massive challenge in Texas. Central has three teams – the defending Stanley Cup champion Colorado Avalanche, St. Louis Blues and Minnesota Wild – that will almost certainly be playoff teams in 2022-23, and the enhanced Pacific Division will resume. probably the only playoff. berth he lost to Central last year.
That leaves a playoff berth and three teams – the Stars, Winnipeg Jets and Nashville Predators – are vying for the spot. Dallas not making the playoffs will likely lead to some noticeable changes. DeBoer will likely survive this change, but make no mistake — he’ll be called down by Stars senior management if he doesn’t lead Dallas to the playoffs this year.