Falling Stars No More

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A difference in Big D indeed!

The Dallas Stars have perhaps made some of the most changes to their roster since they were the North Stars. The then North-Stars, who fell from grace after narrowly missing holding Lord Stanley’s Cup in the 1991 final. The fans of Minnesota asked, “How do you justify moving a cold-weather professional sport from the nation’s hockey capital in Minnesota and move them to a state like Texas known for its hot weather?” Well it was probably money that the then owner Mr. Green said was none to be made in Minnesota, but the point is during that massive exodus from the North Stars in Minn. to Lone Stars simply known as Stars in Dallas the team was literally dismantled; seriously you’ll see in the upcoming sentence after next.

Following this 1991 Stanley cup loss, the NHL Dispersal and Expansion draft took place. An unprecedented 24 players were selected by the new San Jose Sharks, who all played on the North Stars the prior year. How’s that for a major roster overhaul.

Well this 2012 offseason overhaul of roster moves is not as major as 24 players like back in 1991, but there are some major superstars coming and a few bright stars leaving.

Let’s start with the most high profile addition Jaromir Jagr. He is far from his prime, but imagine the point production potential he has on a scoring line with Jamie Benn and Loui Eriksson, two of the league’s hidden superstars. Not to mention, Dallas’ power play was dead last in the league last time hockey was played. Adding Jagr, Whitney and Roy will help immensely.

The Stars will be a totally different team come October, but for a club that has missed the playoffs for four straight years, is that the worst thing on Earth?

First-round draft pick Jamie Oleksiak is expected to make the jump to pro hockey this season with high expectations.

With the addition of long time Buffalo Sabre center Derek Roy, should he stay healthy especially from the past Quad injury will be huge. Roy who believes wearing a certain number is important to most players he realizes the number 9 he wore on his back is for so many years in Buffalo is not an option with the number belonging to perhaps the most beloved Star of all time wearing it for 2 full decades, Mike Modano. On the subject of Modano who ended his 21 year career playing just one season outside the stars organization, Modano told reporters if asked if there is a possibility if he will come back to play he stated “We don’t know yet, we will have to see how my working out goes”, leaving the door open for a chance he could return to the NHL. Modano could make for a compelling addition to the Stars roster while his name graces the back of a Stars jersey again.

Not that this next bit of info is breaking news but a reminder was recently given by Stars General Manager and former player Joe Nieuwendyk on the expectations he has for Brendan Morrow not just to be a star, but a superstar! Morrow has skill but he is streaky at times and could be more consistent. Wait, what am I saying, hockey is a roller coaster ride of confidence. I know that myself from playing in the league called Hockey North America (HNA) all the way to my days in roller hockey at Matteson Square Garden in St.Peters, MO.

Trevor Daley also is getting excited about this seasons Prospects, and New Teammates, but he’s sad to see the departure of long-time teammates Steve Ott and Mike Ribeiro.

Daley, like Morrow is a player with whom a lot is expected and his decline is noticeable in the category of penalty minutes. I’m not saying Daley is going soft entering the midway point of his career but if you look at his potential in defensive prowess. Particularly Daley was known for stopping neutral zone attacks before they develop into a bang, bang offensive setup in his zone. Daley used to be more aggressive and yes, even take a few more good penalties like Stéphane Robidas does year in and year out.

Yet another Stars player who is playing under the radar with so much potential is Michael Ryder who came off several tumultuously horrid seasons in the points department before rebounding with an awesome return to greatness at 35 goals and 62 points last year with the Stars.

Three maybe four good solid scoring lines of three forwards and two top notch defensive style defensemen in Robidas and Daley (at least on line 1) will prove on paper this team from big D will give you big D-Fense and yes scoring.

If Jaime Benn can follow suit of playing a full 82-ish game season like Loui Eriksson and Ryder along with all of the numerous and ginormous transactions the Stars made this off season then the NHL will be looking up to the Stars in the standings come April. These multiple 5-star lines will be shining not falling anymore!

– Written by Bryan Kreutz

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