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G's Dallas Stars season preview:

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10-06-2003, 11:46 AM
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Ajacied
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G's Dallas Stars season preview:

Newsguyone asked me to make one of the Dallas, so I tried:

Could the Dallas Stars defend their Western Conference title with succes over rivals Detroit, Colorado, Vancouver or St.Louis? Will Hatcher leave his marks? Who's that impressive rookie? Find out..

Goal: B

Marty Turco -- Some say he got ripped for the Vezina, others say Brodeur deserved it worthy, anyway you twist it, Turco has put together one of the best seasons in the history of the NHL, he's skilled, exciting and a well-like character in the lookerroom. He was solid in the postseason but not up to the par of that of his regular season, by no means the reason for our early exit, but not exactly the least of our worries when we arrive the playoffs (if) yet again either.

Ron Tugnutt - was not dependable last season, he had his moments of a true #1, but also looked like he was transparant at other times, he was not consistant. If he was, and if Turco would have risen his game in the playoffs the Stars would have gotten an A, but they haven't so they have to settle with a decent B.

Though when I look at Detroit's ranking of their netminder situation, it makes me wanna lower the grade as I feel they have they best.

Defense B+

Their have been a lot of negative things said about the Stars Defense, and while it's a downgrade to what it was last season (on paper), it's actually still very decent, at least more then some fans claim it is. The top 4 is good to great while having reliable and depending remaining depth. Especially with the emerge of Daley, the surprise of Robidas and the aquisition of Sweeney, the Stars Defense is still one to be reckon with.. It has gone under some heavy chances, but this defense should probably be a better suit for Dave Tippet's transition/puckmoving game style, but on paper, there's no doubt this Defense seems like a downgrade. Expect Numminen to provide simular value as Hatcher (the usual one, not the 2003 version) whereas the rest should help filling the minutes Sydor used to see. Something management feels extremely confortable with.

Sergei Zubov - I've read several interesting article's regarding the Russian Magican, anylists in general are of the opinion he's quite underrated and I even catch one saying that if he played in Ottawa he'd be a consistant Norris trophy candidate. Zubov is the Stars #1, always has been, he's wonderful in both ends and could skate as long as he wants to. With a new defensive partner, one of the two-way calibre he has never played with before, could spark his offense even more so. A Norris type season? 60+ points? Expectations are high for Zub, especially after he singlehandedly destroyed the Oilers in the first round, scoring at a 2 ppg rate.

Teppo Numminen - Underappreciated was the latest reference by hockey anylists on this quiet warrior. Teppo is the clostes Lidstrom clone you can find, smart, ultra reliable in his own end and capable of 40/50 points. Teppo will be paired with Zubov, and with so much talent in front of him, look for him to rebound from a rather poor season.

Phillipe Boucher - The Stars top signee of 2002 made quite an impression, so much, that at one point he was praised as the Stars #1 over Derian Hatcher and Sergei Zubov. Health is his biggest worry, if he stays healthy he could very well take the next step to become a legit first pairing defenseman, if he gets injured, the Stars D lost their top overall defenseman. His icetime will increase and he will be counted on replacing Hatcher's defensive prowess, being paired with Matvichuk makes them the new shutdown duo, so don't expect high offensive numbers.

Richard Matvichuk - Matty came back from his injury way too soon, and it was obvious. Matvichuk pretty much sucked his way through the season, his knees made him even slower, he was more cautios and his offense dissapeared completely. Looks better at camp right now and management feels Matty could and will rebound. It's needed wih the departure of Hatch, if he rebounds to 2001 shape, the Stars still have that top notch stay at home defenseman, one that outplayed Hatcher for 3 straight seasons since 1999.

Stephane Robidas - A pleasant surprise, Robidas quickly turned into a fan favorite. Nothing flashy, but he has nuts the size of a skippyball. Takes as well as gives, he fights, is fast, and reliable in both ends. Management is happy with him and they won't hesitate to give him a bigger responsibility. A very decent #5.

John Erskine - He's been pegged a Hatcher clone ever since he stepped onto the stage. Is currenty quite dissapointing in the preseason but that's just that, pre season. Trevor Daley outplayed him to a horribly degree, yet managment has chosen to keep Erskine instead, this has also got to do with his one way contract. He should project into a reliable #4/#5 and make Derian's big frame and toughness do forget, tough job, fans don't seem too happy with him, management does.

Don Sweeney - Not all too familiar with the last Don, he's looked slow and unspectacular. yet you can't critisize a 37 year old defenseman that said: "what's left in the tank, they are going to get". A depth defenseman mostly aquired to fill a simular leadership role Muller used to provide. Will not see many games disregarding injuries/suspensions/trades.

Trevor Daley - A kid that once again outplayed his entire competition, Daley is a supreme skater is there ever was one. Great skill set and his upside projects into a feisty Brian Rafalski, however, he's young (19 or 20) and has yet to play professional hockey. Management did wise sending him down (as the last cut once again). Could see some games, but don't bank on it, as much as Stars fans would love to see him dizzling with Zubov.

Centers: A

Any team that can posses natural centers such as Mike Modano, Pierre Turgeon, Jason Arnott, Niko Kapanen and Stu Barnes can't be anked much lower then an A.

Mike Modano - Recorded his highest offensive season in 8 seasons, despite not having a consistant linemate for more then 10 games. With a renewed Bill Guerin and either Jason Arnott or Brenden Morrow on his left, with the C sticked to his chest, expect Mike to have another decent 80/90 point season. Don't expect anything higher, Mike will never sacrafice any bit of his Defensive game in order to increase his offense, it took a while to become what he is, he won't chance his game anymore. Could be a dark-horse contender for the Hart, as usual.

Jason Arnott/Pierre Turgeon - One of them will play center, who is still up for grabs.

Jason Arnott - A frustrating player, Arnott is quite inconsistant. If he ever finds mr. consistency, Jason Arnott could be among the most powerful centers in the NHL, and he sometimes looks like that when he gets in the zone, but unfortunatly, doesn't happen too often. A booming shot and a solid defensively comitted played, Arnott was on pace for 55 points, expect him to reach simular numbers if he centers the 2nd line, if somehow he plays on the first, he could very well enjoy a career season. But as usual with Jason, health remains his biggest focus.

Pierre Turgeon - There's not much to say about good ele "Sneaky Pete". It's all up to the management. Use him properly and he'd conted with Modano for team scoring, (mis)use him like usual and expect simular numbers (45/50). Like Jason, has trouble staying healthy. Definteily a Stars dark horse ingredient for their succes, has looked quie amazing in the pre season games so far, but again, doesn;t have to mean a thing.

Niko Kapanen - A very pleasant surprise for the Stars, Niko centered what arguably was league's top 3rd line. Had a share in Brenden Morrow's "break through" season and in Jere's career high in goals. Led all rookies in PK icetime, +/- and in assists, Niko ended up with a few votes for Selke consideration. With Antti Miettinen/Brenden Morrow and Jere Lehtinen as his linemates, Niko should once again be our shutdown center. If the playoffs were any indication, his offense could enjoy a decent rise as well.

Stu Barnes - Could center our 4th, could RW our 2nd, could LW our 1st.. up in the air, right now, I have him pencilled in as our 4th line center. Barnes is very versatile leader and his ability to create chemestry with everyone should be an attribute the Stars should take advantage of. Was great in the playoffs and in his short tenure in general, not many holes in his game, but only so much icetime to part with.

LW: B- - due to the lack of inexperience and since the first liner is still up for grabs.

Mike Modano - see centers

Pierre Turgeon - see centers.

Jason Arnott - see centers

All 3 could be our top flight left winger at the Stars of the season, but it's up in the air so I will preview the natural ones:

Brenden Morrow - Stars top youngster, Brenden is rapidly developing into an all-round budding powerforward. Finished in the top 25 in Selke voting, leading the Stars in pims and arguably hits, Brenden also was on pace for an impressive 25 goals, 50 point season, all from the 3rd line with no to few PP oppertunities. His linemates will probably be different this year due to the emerge of Stars top prospect Antti Miettinen. For the first time in his career, Brenden is pencilled in to play on a scoring line, could be Jason Arnott, Pierre Turgeon or Mike Modano, expect Brenden to make his final break through season. Could score as much as 30 goals, but will probably float between 20/25 due to his rugged game, which could quit easily translate into injuries.

Antti Miettinen - The Stars top prospect, Antti is said to be a simular player like Jere Lehtinen, slightly less defensively, but better offensively and more physical. Impressed everyone so far and a roster spot seems a lock. Pegged as a bonafide Calder candidate, Antti will probably lack the icetime and the scoring oppertunities to be considered, but one to keep an eye on none the less.

Steve Ott - My new favorite player in the NHL, you either love him or despise him. Ott is a master at getting under the opponent's skin. Enjoyed an impressive debute in which he even challanged players such as George Laraque and Keith Tkachuk, Steve also has the offensive skill set to be a top 6 forward. For his age, has exceptional defensive abilities. Expect him to mold into a bigger, more offensive, less b¡tchlike Darcy Tucker. Due to the Stars depth will be forced to play 4th line, his offense will probably be on the low side untill getting a better shot to prove his offense.

RW A- : among the Stars top crowded positions.

Jere Lehtinen - The Stars glue guy, Lehtinen will once again fill his usual role, which is do everything within reach. Led the team in scoring from the 3rd line and still managed to win his 3rd Selke trophy, league's top two-way forward, Jere will score between 20 and 30 goals as usual but should be the frontrunner for his 4th Selke trophy untill proven otherwise once again.

Bill Guerin - If you had to believe him, reports, and the Stars medical staff, Guerin is seriously back at the shape of his life. Was great before his tigh injury caught him, with a year under his belt expect him to have a fine offensive output. 30+ Goals should be the Stars expectations, but he himself feels he could contend for the Richard.

Scott Young - League's most streaky player, Young could go months without a goal, but once he finds the net, is among the NHL's top snipers. Always a useful player due to his great defensive awareness, Young will be the Stars 2nd line right winger once again and there have been no indications why he won't repeat his 23 goal season, in fact, he's looking mighty fine.

Rob DiMaio - The "Pitbull", DiMaio has been a fan favorite ever since scoring 5 goals in his first 9 games. A very important member of our PK, DiMaio is also a very effective bodychecker who's specialized in getting the opponent's of their game. The fast roleplayer should record between his usual 10/25 point area, numbers that seem smaller then the value he actually provides.

Aaron Downey - Stars enforcer is well liked by his teammates and makes fun of 'm whenever he gets the chance. A solid roleplayer, but like every enforcer, Downey has no skills. An above average fighter (floating between heavy-and-middleweight) who was responsible for hockeyfights.com top fight with his KO punch on 5 inches taller Jesse Boulerice.

Claud Lemieux - The gritty veteran is nearing the last moments of his career. He has declined tremendously and has been told to make a decision between retirering or playing for the Utah Grizzlies from the AHL, it looks like Claud still feels he can play so he'll probably go for option number two.

Coaching: C

Dave Tippet is coming of a great rookie season, in which he also knew to put the Stars special teams back onto the map, finishing both in the top 5. Due to a rather dissapointing playoffs and due to the lack of inexperience can't be rated higher then a C at this point in his career.

General Manager: B-

Hather wanted out, so he should not be blamed for that one. Armstrong was able to re-sign the 3 MVP's in Lehtinen, Modano and Turco and prevented the Hatcher saga by dealing Sydor in a salary dump, while improving his Defense with it by aquiring unheralded Teppo Numminen and a 2nd round draft pick from the Columbus Blue Jackets. Also aquired Stephane Robidas for peanuts, and made a good move in Stu Barnes. He's not afraid to pul the trigger, something I love about him. Made the Stars future more secure with every core player signed through the CBA/lockout, for save Arnott.

Outlook: B+

A team that has all the ingredients to win the Stanley Cup, but it has gone under some heavy facelifts during the last 2 off-seasons. Rating them an A would be based on assumption and speculation, but definitely doable. Expect the Stars to improve their postseason and contend with the Wings, Blues, Nucks and Avs for the ultimate reward in hockey. The chances could also backfire which could mean a different Pacific winner, it has happened before.

Where I rate them in the league:

On par with the Detroit Red Wings and Ottawa Senators, behind the New Jersey Devils. Slightly above the St.Louis Blues and over the Colorado Avalance and Vancouver Canucks.

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10-06-2003, 12:11 PM
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The Frugal Gourmet
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I might give centers an A-. Clearly, there is an incredible depth there, but the fact remains that no one has risen to the task of legitimate #2 center yet.

Also, I think the real question mark here is defense. Your rating of the Stars defense may be right on, but I don't think anyone really knows how this new mesh of players will really play together. It's just such a big unknown right now. Hell, this core could be terrific, but it's all so changed that it's hard to be sure.

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10-06-2003, 12:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Frugal Gourmet
I might give centers an A-. Clearly, there is an incredible depth there, but the fact remains that no one has risen to the task of legitimate #2 center yet.
There has, just not a clear one..

Quote:
Originally Posted by The Frugal Gourmet
Also, I think the real question mark here is defense. Your rating of the Stars defense may be right on, but I don't think anyone really knows how this new mesh of players will really play together. It's just such a big unknown right now. Hell, this core could be terrific, but it's all so changed that it's hard to be sure.
Agreed, thought I made that clear in the post though.. :p

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10-06-2003, 01:40 PM
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Nice job M=G
The Stars have amazing depth at center. I'm not sure if their defense is fast enough. But to me the big thing is this: Turco got his playoff loss out of the way. He's got some experience now, and IMO, that's huge for a younger goalie.I think the Stars/Avs/Wings remain the three teams in the West (because you know Colorado is going to land a goalie). However, all three teams are coached by guys who failed in last year's playoffs.

I heard Modano told the press he was disappointed that Stars dumped off so much salary this year. Is their some sourness at the organization from players?
They had the Hatcher situation. And the Turgeon situation. And they seemed like they tried hard to dump Guerin.

I think the Stars/Avs/Wings remain the three teams in the West (because you know Colorado is going to land a goalie). However, all three teams are coached by guys who failed in last year's playoffs.


Vancouver remains a pretender as long as Cloutier is their goalie. I think St. Louis will have a very good regular season. But Osgood will falter in the playoffs. Anaheim could be for real if Giguere can do it again.

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10-06-2003, 01:50 PM
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Nice job Mogo.

I did a similar (well almost exactly the same) type post on the Avalanche a while ago, maybe I'll make a new one for fun

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10-06-2003, 01:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Newsguyone
Nice job M=G
I heard Modano told the press he was disappointed that Stars dumped off so much salary this year. Is their some sourness at the organization from players?
The only player who left because of salary is Hatcher. I am not a huge Hatcher fan myself. I feel that unless he happens to be in the mix of things from the start, he is too slow to get where he'd be needed. If the puck doesn't come to his spot, he is reduced to standing in front of the net crosschecking people out of the way. Which isn't a bad thing, but not a 6mil/year thing :p

Modano is upset because now there isn't going to be Big Daddy there covering his a**, so he'll have to deal with a little more "frivolous" checking.

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10-06-2003, 02:07 PM
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The problem the Stars have is that they have assembled a great deal of talent without worrying too much about how all the pieces would fit together. Whether it should translate into a lower grade for center position or the wing position, is a matter of taste :p

My suggestion to the Tippets: Do not play Guerin and Modano together. Both of them a great shooters and both like to shoot. Put a freaking playmaker with them, maybe something like:

Turgeon - Modano - Lehtinen
Morrow - Arnott - Guerin

Wow, that second line looks like they will be able to pound the goals in, just in case their scoring touch is a bit off that day. At least on paper :p

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10-06-2003, 02:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shveik

Morrow-Arnott-Guerin

Wow, that second line looks like they will be able to pound the goals in, just in case their scoring touch is a bit off that day. At least on paper :p
As long as the freaking refs stop blowing the play dead with the puck sitting (uncovered) on the doorstep.

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10-06-2003, 02:42 PM
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The stars have pretty good depth at all positions. There are of course question marks. I personally think Turgeon, Young and Numminen are are on the downside of their career and playing ability and will not rebound but rather cement their position as aging players. Guerin is an unknown. He certainly has the capacity to be a huge player for the Stars. Arnott needs to have a big year for the Stars also.

But overall they have good depth on paper. Defense looks worse than last year. Turco will probably have a worse year statistically but he will do fine. There is only one way to go from last year. Will be interesting to see how line tinkering for them will work out.

Should have a good shot at making top 4 in the west.

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10-06-2003, 02:56 PM
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Daley's situation is kind of like Kronwall's in Detroit. He's good enough to make the team but would only be a depth player right now. For those 2 youngsters, they are better off playing a ton. Can Daley be sent to the minors or does he go to junior??

I'd definitely give the Stars an A at center. Arnott, Turgeon, Modano and Kapanen. ONly thing is that IMO, Arnott and Turgeon are effective at center but aren't effective on the wing. Why don't the Stars go with all 4 guys at center?? Detroit for years did it with Larionov, Fedorov, Yzerman and Draper. Stars would have 4 balanced lines and create matchup problems for the other team.

Oh man, a Tucker clone in Steve Ott? I hate him already

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10-06-2003, 07:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Freudian
The stars have pretty good depth at all positions. There are of course question marks. I personally think Turgeon, Young and Numminen are are on the downside of their career and playing ability and will not rebound but rather cement their position as aging players.
I personally think Young was fantastic next year. Give me a 20 goal-scoring winger with defensive responsibility any day of the week. If he only scores 15 this season, I will think him a fine asset to the team.

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10-06-2003, 07:08 PM
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Like I did with degroats of the Blues, I'll give you the benefit of the doubt on LW. Two prospects jumping in could be great or a diasaster, or somewhere in between. I'd personally give them a C at LW, which as I have stated in other posts is not a bad thing *15 - 20 teams should have a C* However, you know way more about your prospects then I do. Thus, I wil lgo with your judgement. Very fair assessment. Dallas has IMO the most balanced team behind Ottawa.

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10-06-2003, 08:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Frugal Gourmet
I personally think Young was fantastic next year. Give me a 20 goal-scoring winger with defensive responsibility any day of the week. If he only scores 15 this season, I will think him a fine asset to the team.
I agree, Young was among the least of our worries. Sure he was streaky but he always made himself useful.

Quote:
Originally Posted by The Frugal Gourmet
I'd personally give them a C at LW, which as I have stated in other posts is not a bad thing *15 - 20 teams should have a C* However, you know way more about your prospects then I do. Thus, I wil lgo with your judgement.
I rated it a B-, mostly because the lw'ers on the top 2 lines could be Mike Modano and Brenden Morrow. We'll see how the rookies adjust, but it's not like they have to score 40 goals, Miettinen will be a rookie making about the same impact as Niko Kapanen did, while Ott plays 4th line, can't do much wrong over there.

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10-06-2003, 08:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Modano = God
I rated it a B-, mostly because the lw'ers on the top 2 lines could be Mike Modano and Brenden Morrow. We'll see how the rookies adjust, but it's not like they have to score 40 goals, Miettinen will be a rookie making about the same impact as Niko Kapanen did, while Ott plays 4th line, can't do much wrong over there.
But then your Centres drop from a A to a B or B- automatically. You can't include Modano in two positions and have him affect the rating for that position. It kinda inflates things.

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10-06-2003, 08:53 PM
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Good point. That's padding, isn't it?

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10-06-2003, 08:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Freudian
But then your Centres drop from a A to a B or B- automatically. You can't include Modano in two positions and have him affect the rating for that position. It kinda inflates things.
I know.. but the line combo's are really up in the air.. I tried my best..

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10-06-2003, 08:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Modano = God
I know.. but the line combo's are really up in the air.. I tried my best..
It's no big deal. Preseason is preseason. After 10-15 games one can usually tell how things are shaping up and things will be for the season.

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10-07-2003, 03:29 AM
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Modano is going to be playing center this season. Tip said he feels he needs to be involved all over the ice. I was physically ill watching Modano standing around on the left wing.

He is going to be playing center.

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