You know, it’s funny. The Dallas Stars weren’t given much credit in any Western Conference predictions prior to the 2009-2010 NHL season. To be fair, I’m not sure I would of given the Stars much credit either, had I made any bold before-the-season predictions. As a general rule, I try to avoid predicting Conference outcomes as I usually end up looking foolish. Errr… end up looking even more foolish. You get my point.
Most predictions talked about the scoring depth of teams like San Jose, Chicago and Detroit while others talked about Calgary, Los Angeles and even Columbus. Rarely are Dallas ever mentioned, if at all. I believe the Dallas Stars forwards are very underrated. Now it’s easy for me to say this, 12 games into their season, but I swear I’ve been meaning to write this blog for weeks now. Scouts honour.
As far as under the radar groups of top 6 forwards, you have to believe the Dallas Stars take the cake (or come pretty damn close). Take a look at their first two lines:
James Neal - Brad Richards - Loui Eriksson
Brenden Morrow - Mike Ribeiro - Jamie Benn
And that doesn’t include players like Fabien Brunnstrom (if he ever lives up to half the hype he brought over from Sweden), Steve Ott (who can score goals when not trying to get suspended), Mike Modano (when not injured), Jere Lehtinen (also when not injured) and Matt Niskanen (also when not injured, too).
To me, this group of forwards in Dallas is just as good as any in the Western Conference (except the San Jose Sharks). But despite being 6-2-4 after 12 games, it seems they still underrated and often overlooked. Both top lines feature grit, obvious skill, strong hockey sense and players who can score big goals.
It gets better, too. The majority of these Stars (the top 6) are relatively young and signed beyond next season (or longer) with exception of James Neal. Given the cap space the Stars have, resigning Neal shouldn’t be an issue. I like this group of forwards a lot and as the season continues, I think more people will begin to see how unheralded this group really is. Assuming they can remain healthy all season, the Dallas Stars could be this year’s sleeper team in the West.
A short blog for Friday. I’ll be back next week. Now go enjoy the weekend.
Stay classy, Dallas Stars.
About the Author: Kevin Burgundy runs and operates Stayclassy.net - The internet's best damn hockey blog... with a hint of Burgundy. SC is the smartest and sharpest hockey blog you'll read today (in the next 3 minutes). Go read it today and have a laugh! Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Twitter: @Stay_Classy Site: http://www.stayclassy.net