Stars: It’s Officially Time for a Youth Movement in Dallas

Tyler Seguin, Dallas Stars (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Tyler Seguin, Dallas Stars (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) /

It’s official: the Dallas Stars need to move on from their veterans.

This is not where I wanted or expected to see the Stars this season. With a record of 27-20-2, Dallas is on the outside looking in when it comes to the playoff picture in the Western Conference. It’s not the position in the standings, however, that makes it time to move on in Big D.

The Stars are only a few points out of a playoff spot, which makes a postseason berth easily attainable for a team that went to the Stanley Cup Final only two seasons ago. What’s cause for concern is that everything I thought could go right for Dallas this season has not gone well at all.

When I picked the Stars to return to the Cup Final this season, I expected the team’s offense to be just as impactful as its defense. Needless to say, that has not been the case.

Former Art Ross Trophy winner Jamie Benn has been nowhere near a scoring title since winning it back in 2015. In fact, he has been over a point per game in only one season since then, and this season, he has managed only 23 points (12 goals and 11 assists) in 49 games.

I had hoped for more from the captain, but what has me especially disappointed is the lack of production from Tyler Seguin and Alexander Radulov. Both forwards missed significant time a season ago, playing only a combined 13 games. My expectation was that their return to the lineup would bolster the offense.

Instead, Seguin has 27 points (16 goals and 11 assists) in 49 games, while Radulov, who had 12 points in 11 games last year, has 16 (two goals and 14 assists) in 43 games this year. Health has, unfortunately, not led to positive results for the Stars.

It’s time for the Stars to move on.

There has been only one veteran that has lived up to offensive expectations this season, and that is Joe Pavelski. The elder statesman of the group actually leads the team in points this season with 53 (21 goals and 32 assists).

The other players that have been contributing offensively are all young players. Jason Robertson (age 22) has 46 points in 41 games, Roope Hintz (25) has 42 points in 47 games, and Miro Heiskanen (22), who has scored 28 points from the blue line, round out the top four scorers behind Pavelski.

I give a lot of credit to these younger members of the Dallas roster for keeping the team’s playoff hopes alive. Unfortunately, the idea that the veterans would chip in as well is fading further and further from reality, and it’s costing the group a chance to contend for a title.

It is these young players, however, that should prevent the Stars from entering a full rebuild. Notice that from the start, I did not say to tear it all down in Texas, but rather to move on from older players.

Imagine how many teams contending for a championship would love to have Pavelski right now. Yes, he’s leading the team in points, but as a 37-year-old, he doesn’t provide any long-term value for the Stars, so they should sell high.

If the Stars trade him, get something in return for their former superstars, and build around the young core of the team, Dallas may be able to maintain playoff status for years to come. After all, three of the top four point-getters on the team are 25 years of age or younger.

Even at the goalie position, a position that has been a strength for the Stars for many years, Dallas is experiencing a shift to a younger option. Second-year man Jake Oettinger, who is only 23 years old, has played in 23 games this season, going 15-6 with a 2.34 goals against average and a .921 save percentage.

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The playoffs may still be possible for the Stars, but if this franchise wants to win it all, it needs to readjust its focus and move on from its veteran players.