The 2017-18 National Hockey League regular season came to an end on Sunday, and with it, so did the Dallas Stars season. The Stars ended with a record of 42-32-8 with a grand total of 92 points earned. The Stars finished in 19th place in the league and sixth place in the Central Division. The Stars were looking like they were going to make the postseason midway through the year, but after the All-Star break, things began to fall apart and the Stars have now missed the postseason for the eighth time in the past 10 seasons.
— Dallas Stars (@DallasStars) April 8, 2018
Dallas Stars 2017-18 Season Review
Last summer, the Stars made some significant moves and signings, picking up players such as Ben Bishop, Alexander Radulov, and Marc Methot. Things were looking bright heading into the year- the Stars had just revamped their roster and had a great duo of goaltenders backstopping them in Bishop and Kari Lehtonen. As the season started and progressed, the Stars were impressive, holding on to a top-two Central Division slot for weeks on end. At one point, they were one of the top teams in the whole NHL.
Injuries and Disaster on Special Teams and Contributions
Things were just starting to get exciting, then they started to turn for the worst; injuries, special teams failure, and lack of contribution all kicked in. Julius Honka, Gemel Smith, Marc Methot, and Martin Hanzal were all plagued by injury and none of them broke more than 47 games played. Marc Methot had the fewest games played this year of the four and had a total of 36 points. Methot was signed to the Stars in order to bring some veteran leadership and defensive prowess to the squad. Instead, he was rarely in the lineup and disappointing when he was.
Kari Lehtonen and Ben Bishop were both spotty this season, both coming in and out of the lineup with injuries. This does not help the team at all, especially when the Stars have an ideology that is based on revolving around two solid goaltenders playing night in and night out for them.
In the beginning of the season, the Stars special teams were top-notch. They were the best in the league, but once again, as the season went on, they dulled out and dropped. While the penalty kill remained pretty efficient all year, the power-play was the opposite. At the end of the season, the Stars sat in 20th place in the league with a power-play percentage of 19.3% (47 goals on 244 opportunities). However, they ranked eighth in the NHL in penalty kill with a percentage of 80.8% (54 goals allowed on 281 attempts). All in all – it was upsetting to see how elite they were in the beginning of the season, then eventually fell off.
Then there is the issue of inconsistency in the lineup. This whole season, the Stars struggled with consistency issues on offense. When looking at the stat sheet, the first line was really the one who did the majority of the work. The rest of the team chipped in, but not as nearly as much as they should have been.
As a matter of fact, the team had no 20-plus goal scorers this season aside from Jamie Benn, Tyler Seguin, and Alexander Radulov (aka the first line). The player closest to hitting 20 goals was Mattias Janmark (19 goals). If a team is to succeed and make a push for the postseason, it needs contributions from all four lines and three defensive pairings. Unfortunately, the Stars did not and that is a major reason as to why they failed to clinch a playoff berth yet again.
The Future is Bright
The 2017-18 NHL season may have finished for Dallas in a disappointing manner, but the future is bright. There are currently 11 players aged 25 or under on the Stars roster. This means that these players are the ones who are still maturing and this season served as a stepping stone for them. Devin Shore, 23, had 32 points in 82 games this season and was seventh on the team in points. In the top-three spots above him- Radek Faksa (age 24, 33 points scored in 79 games played), Mattias Janmark (age 25, 34 points scored in 81 games), and All-Star defenseman John Klingberg (age 25, 67 points scored in 82 games).
Top Line on Fire
We can not forget about the top trio of Seguin, Radulov, and Benn. The trio this season combined for a whopping 229 points. These players are the core of this team and were stellar all season. Each scored 70-plus points this season and missed ZERO games between the three of them. This goes to show that as long as they stay healthy, they are weapons.
Jamie Benn, Tyler Seguin, and Alexander Radulov combined for 229 points this season.
That’s the second highest total for a top trio in @DallasStars history, and the most since the inaugural year in 1993-94.
That year Mike Modano, Russ Courtnall, and Dave Gagner collected 234.
— Josh Bogorad (@JoshBogorad) April 8, 2018
All of these players have nowhere to go but up. As long as they stay healthy and play hard, they can be the ones who bring the Stanley Cup back to Dallas. It may not be this season, or even next, but it will happen.
Well, looking back at the 2017-18 campaign, one word sticks out and pretty much sums it up: disappointment. The Stars were one of the top teams in the NHL, but crumbled and never recovered. The months of February and March were painful. It was a monumental collapse, and it was sad to see it happen because of all the talent this Stars team possesses. But, there is nothing that can be done now except to recover and prepare for next season- another chance for glory.
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