The Dallas Stars have parted ways with head coach Lindy Ruff after four seasons.
Dallas Stars, Head Coach Lindy Ruff Part Ways
During his tenure since 2013, the Stars went 165-122-41, as Ruff lead the team to the playoffs twice after they missed the previous five years from 2008-2013. The farthest they went was the second round, losing to the St. Louis Blues last postseason in Game 7 at home.
A lot of people thought that the Stars were going to make the playoffs again this season but bad goaltending plus a lot of injuries doomed Dallas. The Stars also finished 30 points lower than they did last year with 79 points and their power play dropped from fourth in the league last year to 22nd this year. Their penalty kill also dropped significantly as it was 10th in the league last year and was the worst in the league this year. It didn’t help that forwards like Mattias Janmark, Patrick Sharp, and Alex Hemsky were injured for much of the season, decimating the Stars’ forward core and affecting their power play and offense as a whole, ranking 17th scoring 2.71 goals per game. One can’t forget losing Valeri Nichushkin to the KHL, either.
What may have derailed the Stars’ season the most, their goaltending. Kari Lehtonen and Antti Niemi just haven’t cut it for the past couple of seasons, combining for an .897 save percentage and 3.08 goals against average this season.
Going into the offseason, general manager Jim Nill is going to have to make some tough decisions along with getting a new coach. Dallas will likely wait until the fate of Darryl Sutter is decided in Los Angeles as they also missed the playoffs and teams will be jumping all over him if he becomes available. Ken Hitchcock, Jack Capuano, and Gerard Gallant are all available as well.
Ruff in his career is 736-554-78-125. He spent the first 15 years of his coaching career in Buffalo, leading the Sabres to the Stanley Cup Final in 1999. He won a Jack Adams Award in 2005-06 when the Sabres won 52 games.