Stars 08-09 Outlook

The Stars have essentially the same roster as last year, albeit missing a few forwards and a defenseman, and now including a few new players to replace them. However, it appears the Stars will still be a playoff team come April and May.

Up front, the Stars' top 12 looks to include; Brenden Morrow (Left Wing, Captain), Mike Ribeiro (Center), Brad Richards (Center/RW), Mike Modano (Center, Alternate Captain), Jere Lehtinen (Right Wing), Sean Avery (Left Wing/C), Loui Eriksson (Right Wing), Steve Ott (Center/LW), Joel Lundqvist (Center/W), Toby Petersen (Center/LW), Chris Conner (Right Wing), and Konstantin Pushkarev (LW/C/RW) or Krys Barch (Right Wing/C). Landon Wilson is listed on the roster for the Stars, suggesting he would be another spare, but he hasn't played in the NHL since 2004 and was most recently seen with Lugano of the Swiss league in 06-07. He could still make it, but I don't think he'll amount to very much. The other 13 names could potentially pan out to form these lines:

Left Wing---Center---Right Wing
Extra= Barch, Wilson

Those are just my guesses, although it's possible that Ott could move up to the third line, and Lundqvist would take the fourth line LW spot with Pushkarev moving over to RW, because Lundqvist and Petersen showed good chemistry in the 08 playoffs, nearly shutting down the Red Wings duo of Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg.

The defense pans out to include: Sergei Zubov (Alternate Captain), Matt Niskanen, Stephane Robidas, Nicklas Grossman, Phillipe Boucher, Mark Fistric, Trevor Daley, and Dan Jancevski. Having 8 NHL caliber defenders is a little crowded, which means that the Stars could pull a trade and acquire either a solid right winger, a thin position at the moment, or a safe backup goalie, although Tobias Stephan appears ready to take the next step.
The blue-line could potentially look like this:

7th= Fistric---Minors= Jancevski

The reason a trade is likely? Fistric definitely proved himself worthy of NHL time in 32 regular season games last year, with two assists and a plus- 3 rating. He was also a valuable asset in the playoffs through 9 games. Jancevski has also been waiting for an NHL chance, and another season in the minors might dim his potential.

Goaltending might be the most solid position. Starter Marty Turco is in his prime, and shook off any possible remaining doubts by reaching the Conference Finals, defeating such foes as the former defending Cup champions, and a San Jose team many thought would go all the way. New backup Tobias Stephan had a solid AHL season, going 27-22-5, a reasonable record with a weak AHL team.

On the farm, Dallas has several young players that could make a big impact if they can secure a roster spot. The two with the most potential are James Neal and Fabian Brunnstrom. Neal had a tough season in the AHL, but improved as the year went on. Brunnstrom had a strong year in Finland, causing a mad dash of NHL teams attempting to sign the undrafted winger to an entry level contract. Another interesting prospect is Richard Bachman. A freshman in college, he had a superb season, named MVP of his Colorado College team by his coach. He could be signed to an entry-level contract if the Stars want him to spend some time in the AHL. However, another collegiate season would help his development.

All in all, the Stars have the names to win the Cup. The question "Can they pull it all together?" remains to be answered. I'm Brooklynhockeyboy (who no longer lives in Brooklyn), signing off.

STARS RULE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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