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Brendan Morrow and the Dallas Stars missed playoffs on the last game of the season in 2011. Is there better luck in store?

KEY SUBTRACTIONS

With the Richards saga behind them, perhaps the Stars can play better hockey? Or is it worse....

Brad Richards, C
Jamie Langenbruner, RW
Jason Williams, RW
Jeff Woywitka, D

KEY ADDITIONS

Jake Dowell, C
Vernon Fiddler, C
Radek Dvorak, RW
Eric Godard, RW
Michael Ryder, RW
Trevor Ludwig, D
Adam Pardy, D
Sheldon Souray, D
 

QUICK PICKS

Ribeiro just keeps getting it done year after year.

Loui Eriksson, LW:  The All-Star winger had his best season in 2010-2011.  He’s young, he’s talented and he’s just hitting his peak.  Green light on Eriksson. Good for 75 points and lots of PP time.

Mike Ribeiro, C:  Moves the puck around brilliantly.  Inching closer to 500 career points.  Yes!  Mike Ribeiro!  Should be good enough for another 50 assist season and around 20 goals.

Alex Goligoski, D:  Had excellent production last year after coming in from Pittsburgh.  Consistent point producer at every level on every team.  Should crack top-10 scoring for defensemen in 2012.  50 point player.  Take him.

SLEEPERS

Lehtonen is a nice, cheap option if you just want a starter who will give you consistent numbers.

Jamie Benn, RW/LW/C:  Has all the tools to be an elite player in the league.  Really tore it up the last three months or so in Dallas. He should have another great season and hit career highs.  65 points isn’t unreachable for this talented player.

Kari Lehtonen, G:  The Big Finn should see the bulk of the games in net for the Stars.  Good numbers all around, and should get around 35 wins.  A little inconsistent sometimes, so be warned.

Sheldon Souray, D:  He’s baaaack… and he’ll help the Stars who were sorely missing a prime time D-man on their back end last season.  Not too many GM’s will remember he’s capable of big numbers.  Take him for around 40 points with potential for  upside.  Puts a lot of shots on net.

BUYER BEWARE

Steve Ott, with a rare shot on net.

Brendan Morrow, LW:  A couple big-time injuries have slowed down the Stars leader over the years.  You can expect similar numbers to last year, just don’t hope for any  more.  His days of 70 points are gone.  He’s a 50 point man now.  Still, you could do a lot worse.

Steve Ott, C:  The hard-working P.E.I. native will give you PIM’s and chip in around 30 points.  That’s it.  Don’t get overly hopeful for a depth centre.

 

PREDICTIONS

Loui Eriksson might find himself alone in Dallas by the trade deadline if things don't go as planned.

Claude Lebut says:  Dallas lost its coach and its best player in the off-season, signaling a rebuilding year for the team.  The additional problem of a limp fan base is making owners sweat a little bit in big D.  The team won’t be much better on the ice even if they have a few nice pieces.  They will definitely miss Richards leadership and the depth down the lineup is sorely lacking.  Things might get worse in Dallas before they get any better.  No playoffs, and they’ll be fighting near the bottom all season.

Hattrick Payne says:  Brendan Morrow, Loui Eriksson, Mike Ribeiro, Sheldon Souray, Alex Goligoski, Jamie Benn, Kari Lehtonen…. that sounds pretty good to me… if only there were more on the back end.  The team could be competitive, but there are too many teams similar to the Stars that they will end up cancelling each other out.  Not much to choose between Colorado, Calgary, St. Louis, Columbus, Nashville and Dallas, but there is a big difference between this team and the elite 8.  The team needs a much greater shakeup than the loss of Richards and addition of an old Souray.  Things are splitting at the seams… Dallas will fall apart this year, but in a competitive sort of way.

Mark Twain says:  We used to watch the stars that fell, too, and see them streak down. Jim allowed they’d got spoiled and was hove out of the nest.

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