2023 team report cards: Dallas Stars fall short of Cup Final

Dallas Stars, Jake Oettinger #29. (Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)
Dallas Stars, Jake Oettinger #29. (Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images) /

The Dallas Stars were hoping that 2023 would mark their second trip to the Stanley Cup Final in four years. They had a great regular season in pursuit of that goal and a great start to the postseason as well.

In the Western Conference Final, though, they met their match against the Vegas Golden Knights. The Stars fell behind three games to none in the series before battling back and forcing Game 6. That contest turned out to be a 6-0 blowout loss that eliminated them from the playoffs.

Dallas deserves credit for coming back to win two games in the series, but they simply weren’t consistent enough early on to have a chance. Few teams in NHL history have come back from a 3-0 hole, and the Golden Knights were too good to let the Stars join that group.

How will this Dallas Stars season be graded?

The Stars were expected to be in the playoff mix this season, but they exceeded expectations. The 2022-2023 campaign marked the team’s first 100-point season since 2015-2016. Their second-place finish in the Central Division was also their best result since 2016.

Dallas’s best hockey seemed to come earlier in the season, as it was in first place in the division for much of the first few months. Still, they stuck around in the race for the division and played well in the first two rounds of the playoffs.

Even with the disappointing performance in round three, this was a strong year for the Stars. With that said, this team isn’t getting any younger, and it has to take advantage of opportunities like this when they come along.

Some key players just weren’t good enough for the Stars to win. Captain Jamie Benn was suspended for two games, forward Tyler Seguin had only nine points in 19 games, and goaltender Jake Oettinger posted an .895 save percentage in the playoffs.

The Stars are a solid team but have struggled to play well in all areas simultaneously. This postseason, they simply didn’t get enough consistent production from enough players. Could guys like Benn and Seguin be in danger of not returning next season?

Overall, Dallas was 47-21-14 (108 points), and in the playoffs, they defeated the Minnesota Wild in six games, defeated the Seattle Kraken in seven games, and lost to the Golden Knights in five games.

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The regular season was solid, the first two rounds of the playoffs were great, and the Western Conference Final was a struggle from the start.

The Grade: B