The Stars' playoff hopes are fading
Heading into the 2011-12 campaign, not many Stars fans were sure of what lied ahead for their team with Brad Richards departing to New York and a rookie coach occupying the bench. With 59 games in the book, the inconsistent Stars currently sit tenth in the Western Conference and with time ticking, playoff hopes are slowly fading into the distance.
It has been a very frustrating season for Dallas supporters this season as the Stars look like a team with so much potential but have struggled to transfer that potential into points. Inconsistency has hurt the Stars throughout the season. To give you the picture, Dallas demolished the defending champions Boston in Texas, yet conceded 5 in a loss against the rock bottom Islanders.
Looking at the positives of the season so far, you have to start with Kari Lehtonen, the big Finish goaltender. He has recorded a .918 save percentage so far and has kept the Stars in so many games this season, despite the demanding amount of ice time he continues to receive. Richard Bachman, the rookie goalie that replaced Andrew Raycroft, has also been a shining light for the Stars, enjoying a solid start to his NHL career including a shutout at Madison Square Garden. I feel these 2 will form a formidable goaltending unit in years to come in Dallas.
Jamie Benn has had a sublime season so far and in doing so gaining himself a spot in the all-star game in Ottawa earlier this year. The young Canadian has racked up 49 points in 52 games, showing some exquisite puck distribution as well as some highlight reel goals. He is an integral part of the Dallas franchise as he has turned into an elite NHL centreman this year.
Despite the Stars having the services of Benn, their lack of depth in offense has been apparent. The top 3 lines have all given goals throughout the year but not on a consistent basis or at similar times. They have racked up 152 goals this season, which ranks them in the middle of the pack. The Stars still need to bring in that top 6 forward if they want to have any chance of making the playoffs. Jeff Carter has been a speculated target and I feel he would be a massive addition if they could bring the Canadian to Texas.
If Dallas wants to have the eighth spot in sight towards the back end of the season, they need to start playing on back-to-back nights, where they currently have a shoddy record of 0-9-2. Coach Gulutzan has expressed how he has changed his lines as much as he can and all his team can do now is dig deep and grind out the results.
We can look into the technical aspects of Dallas' game as much as we like. However, in my opinion, they have simply lacked the passion, commitment and intensity this season, which are 3 key ingredients to getting wins in this league. For me, the Stars are fighting a losing battle. With an ageing roster, they look like a team that are almost a post-season team but not quite, and they have looked like that for a while. I feel it is time for a big clear out in Dallas, investing heavily in the future and seeing some new faces in town.