The Dallas Stars exited the 2023 Stanley Cup playoffs in six games during the Western Conference Final. They were great in rounds one and two against the Minnesota Wild and Seattle Kraken, but they ended up falling short against the Vegas Golden Knights. Now, one big question remains.
What comes next for the Dallas Stars after Western Conference Final exit?
The Stars fell behind three games to zero in the Conference Final, which pretty much sealed their fate as 3-0 holes are really hard to climb out of in the postseason. Now, they enter the offseason with a lot of question marks for the future. Let’s go over everything the Stars are going to have to address now.
For the most part, the Stars will be bringing back the same group next season. They have a little over $7 million in cap space to work with for 2023-24 and their big names without contracts are Evgeni Dadonov and Max Domi.
They were both added as trade deadline rental pieces, and while the Stars would definitely like them back, it might be more important to keep your options open especially with someone like Jake Oettinger looking for a contract extension at the end of the 2024-25 season. If Domi or Dadonov are re-signed it will have to be to a shorter term contract.
Another thing the Stars will have to think about is how the team will move forward with Joe Pavelski another year older. While Pavelski has been one of their top forwards the past few seasons, he is 38 years old, and time does catch up with everyone eventually.
This season Pavelski had 77 points during the regular seasons as well as 14 points throughout the postseason. His nine playoff goals was second on the team to only Roope Hintz.
The other main thing to discuss in regards to the Stars future has to be captain Jamie Benn. Benn did not have the best conference final by any means. After a pretty good first and second round where he had 10 points in 13 games including two goals, Benn had just one point in the four games he got to play in throughout the Conference Final.
No one player can be blamed for a series defeat, but Benn did put his team at a disadvantage in game three when he was given a five minute major and game misconduct for driving his stick into Golden Knights captain Mark Stone’s neck.
The Stars won both games where Benn was suspended before falling in game six. Benn had a relatively strong season where he put up 78 points in 82 games playing an average of 15:47 a night, during the postseason the Stars leaned on him a little more and maybe the team will have to rethink his role heading into 2023-24.
The Stars will now head to the 2023 NHL Draft with five picks. They have a pick in the second, fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh round. There is no doubt that the Stars can be back in the Conference Final again next season!