Dallas Stars Now A Contender Thanks To Smart Moves

Dallas Stars left wing Jamie Benn (14) in action (Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports)
Dallas Stars left wing Jamie Benn (14) in action (Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports) /

After a couple of big moves this off-season, the Dallas Stars look primed for a run at the Stanley Cup into 2018 and beyond.

The biggest issue the Dallas Stars had during the ill-fated 2016-17 campaign was between the pipe. A look at the numbers for their tandem of Antti Niemi and Kari Lehtonen seems to prove those doubts right. Posting an average sv% of .892 and a goals against average of 3.08, the two gave the Stars little to no chance to win.

Dallas has left no stone unturned in their push to return to the playoffs, and ultimately the Stanley Cup. In their apparent win-now mode, they appear to have the problem between the pipes sorted with the acquisition of highly sought after – and highly paid at a reported $29.5m over six years – Ben Bishop.

The 30 year old goaltender spent five years in Florida with the Tampa Bay Lightning, playing 227 times. Bishop recorded 131 wins and posting an impressive save percentage of .921 before joining the LA Kings in a 2017 deal which saw the Lightning  acquire backup Peter Budaj, defenseman Erik Cernak and draft picks.

Bishop was traded to Dallas for a fourth round pick in the 2017 draft. He will swap his brief spell in Hollywood for the Lone Star State for next few seasons. Bishop looks set to make his first start in the green and white of the Dallas come Oct. 7 against the Vegas Golden Knights.

Away from the crease, the Stars will have more new faces making their American Airlines Centre debuts, most noticeably adding gritty forward Alexander Radulov. Radulov, drafted 15th overall in 2004 by Nashville, heads to Dallas off the back of a career high season in assists (36) in Montreal where he also added 18 goals for a total of 54 points. The 2016-17 numbers from the Russian forward were his second best in the NHL after his 2007-2008 season. During that season, Radulov notched 58 points (26 goals and 32 assists) in 81 games for the Predators.

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While certainly not an elite scorer, Radulov, 31, is more than capable  of putting up around 20 goals a season and 30 assists. Team that with the news of Stars head coach Ken Hitchcock may be planning to team Radulov with Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin – who put up 141 points between them in 2016-17 – and the forward lines which needed only tweaks from last year is ready to go. More than that, Radulov’s cap hit of a speculated $6.25m isn’t too high considering his point production and the power play option he gives to his team.

The Stars have also bolstered their blueline adding veteran Marc Methot to the defensive corps. A reliable if not unspectacular stay at home defenseman, Methot is solid in the back. A +13 player on an Ottawa Senators team who were one game away from the Stanley Cup final last year, Methot logged almost 20 minutes a game.

An 11-year pro, the 6’3″ Ottawa native was picked up by Vegas in the expansion draft, after somewhat surprisingly being left unprotected by his hometown Senators. Ottawa’s loss though turned out to be the Stars’ gain, as Vegas flipped Methot to Dallas for goalie Dylan Ferguson and a 2020 second round draft pick.

Next: Stars Season Preview

In Methot, the Stars have added a rock at the back to match the skill and grit at the front. And with the aforementioned Bishop in net, the Stars could be set for a return to hockey’s holy grail come summer time.