Know Your Foe: Dallas

Wild.com Managing Editor Mike Doyle previews the Wild's new Central Division rival

Monday, 09.16.2013 / 11:00 AM
Mike Doyle  - Managing Editor


The Minnesota Wild is moving into the Western Conference's Central Division. The club will realign with six other clubs: Chicago Blackhawks, Colorado Avalanche, Dallas Stars, Nashville Predators, St. Louis Blues and Winnipeg Jets.

It's important to know your enemies, so leading up to the 2013-14 regular season Wild.com Managing Editor Mike Doyle will take a look the Wild’s new divisional rivals. Today he gets to know the new-look Dallas Stars.

Key Transactions
Additions: Tyler Seguin, Rich Peverley, Shawn Horcoff, Sergei Gonchar, Dan Ellis
Subtractions: Glen Gulutzan, Loui Eriksson, Eric Nystrom, Philip Larsen, Richard Bachman

2012-13 Season Summary
Record: 22-22-4, 48 pts.
Finished: 5th in Pacific, 11th in Western Conference
Playoffs: Did Not Qualify
2012-13 Wild Record vs. Dallas: 2-1-0
All-time Wild Record vs. Dallas: 16-23-8
Last Meeting: 5-3 Dallas win at American Airlines Center (3/29/13)

2012-13 Team Leaders
Goals: Jaromir Jagr (14)
Assists: Alex Goligoski (24)
Points: Jamie Benn (33)
Wins: Kari Lehtonen (15)
Shutouts: Kari Lehtonen (1)
GAA: Kari Lehtonen (2.66)
SV%: Kari Lehtonen (.916)

2013-14 Outlook

After missing the postseason for the fifth-straight season, the Dallas Stars hope that a change, or maybe more accurately a complete overhaul, will do them good.

Jim Nill was named the club's new general manager in April. For almost two decades, Nill was a member of the Detroit Red Wings' front office. During his tenure, the Wings won four Stanley Cup rings. The new GM didn’t waste any time making a big splash in the offseason.

Nill named longtime Buffalo Sabres bench boss Lindy Ruff as the new head coach. Ruff was with the Sabres for 15 years and helped guide the team to a Stanley Cup Final appearance in 1999, coincidentally, going up against and losing to the Stars. He also won the Jack Adams Award, as NHL coach of the year, in 2006.

On the ice, the Stars made a number of headline grabbing moves. First, the team acquired veteran blueliner Sergei Gonchar from the Ottawa Senators and re-signed him to a contract extension. Gonchar can quarterback the power play and will help stabilize the Stars’ blue line.

The team then made a move for forwards, bringing in centers Tyler Seguin and Rich Peverley from the Boston Bruins in exchange for forward Loui Eriksson and prospects. After leading the Bruins in scoring during the 2011-12 season, Seguin’s production dipped last year and was getting more media attention for off-ice exploits than on-ice performance. But the former No. 2 overall pick in 2010 is full of offensive ability and, paired with the talented Jamie Benn, looks to have a bounce-back season.

The one place that Dallas will have some continuity: starting goaltender Kari Lehtonen. The netminder started 33 games in goal last season and has been the team’s franchise goaltender since coming to the Lone Star State in 2010. Not surprisingly, however, Dallas signed veteran goaltender Dan Ellis and hopes he’s an upgrade to last year’s backup situation.

The new-look Stars made one other major offseason change, as the team redesigned its logo and uniforms. Dallas adopted a different shade of green as its primary color and changed the crest to a star, resembling a spur (Texas Forever), with a large ‘D’ in the center.

Plus/Minus

Plus
128 – Number of goals the Stars scored last season, only one of which was an empty netter.

Minus
26.3 — Average shots per game, second fewest in the NHL last season.

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