2008/09: 36 – 35 – 11 – 83 pts (3rd in Pacific, 12th in West)
Arrived: Alex Auld (OTT), Warren Peters (CGY), Karlis Skrastins (FLA), Jeff Woywitka (STL)
Departed: Sergei Zubov (Russia), Joel Lundqvist (Sweden), Steve Begin (BOS), Chris Connor (PIT), Brendan Morrison (WSH), Mark Parrish, Tobias Stephan, Darryl Sydor and Landon Wilson (all unsigned)
The Sean Avery fiasco is over and new coach Marc Crawford and GM Joe Nieuwendyk will look to bring the Stars back to the playoffs. The return of captain Brendan Morrow will have a huge impact on the Stars play, though they did little this offseason to correct the defensive struggles they had last season. Marty Turco will be better, and even though Mike Modano’s highlight reel days are behind him, with Brad Richards and Mike Ribeiro playing ahead of him, Dallas is one of the deeper teams at the center position. After making it to the Western Conference Finals two seasons ago, the Stars will be trying to show that missing the playoffs last season was just a fluke.
FANTASY WORTHY FORWARDS
Brendan Morrow (LW) – Since taking over the Stars’ captaincy Morrow has been the heart and soul of the team, leaving it all on the ice game in and game out. The Stars realized just how valuable their captain is as he played in only 18 games last season due to injury, and that more than Avery was why the Stars weren’t playing this past spring. Morrow is of a rare fantasy breed. He is a top line player, is sure to be on the Stars’ top powerplay unit, yet is a lock to get 100 PIMS. He had 49 in the 18 games he played in 08/09. Expect just over 30 goals and 75 points if he can stay healthy.
Mike Ribeiro (C) – The Canadiens must be kicking themselves. After trading Ribeiro to Dallas for practically nothing (no offense Mr. Niinimaa) Ribeiro has put up three solid offensive seasons with the Stars (59, 83, and 78 pts) Ribeiro won’t score many goals but is good for 50-60 assists around 50 PIMS worth of dirty sticking penalties.
Brad Richards (C) – Richards will likely battle Ribeiro for the number one center position, but should find himself a spot on the top power-play unit as either a forward or a point-man. The Stars don’t play a wide open, offence first style like the Lightning did while Richards was there and his numbers will reflect that again this season. Not to mention he isn’t playing with or behind Lecavalier and St. Louis. 20-25 goals and 70 points will be a good season for Richards.
Loui Eriksson (LW) – Eriksson had a breakout season in 2009 scoring 36 goals and adding 27 assists for 63 points in 82 games. Unfortunately, he likely won’t improve on those totals as the return of captain Morrow will limit his opportunities and ice-time. Expect numbers similar to last season. Eriksson had only 14 PIMs in 82 games last season.
Steve Ott (C) – Ok I’ll be honest you may not want to draft Steve Ott, but he is definitely worth keeping a close watch on. Ott had an impressive season in 08/09 with 46 points in 64 games and an impressive (fantasy-wise) 135 PIMS.
Keep an eye on: James Neal, Fabian Brunnstrom (Two sophmores with loads of potential)
DRAFT WORTHY DEFENCEMEN
Stephane Robidas – With Zubov gone to Russia, Robidas is the likely candidate to take his spot on the powerplay. Robidas had a strong second half to last season, was a replacement for Lidstrom at the All-Star game and finished an impressive plus-10 on a lousy Stars team. He also earned a spot at the Canadian Olmpic camp. Surprisingly, Robidas is averaging over 80 PIMS in the last 3 seasons
Keep an Eye on: Trevor Daley, Matt Niskanen
BETWEEN THE PIPES
Marty Turco – Turco had an off year in 08/09 which defintely had something to do with the team in front of him, but was also a result of being over-worked. Turco appeared in 74 games and recorded the worst stats of his NHL career with a GAA of 2.81 and a save percentage under .900. The addition of Alex Auld, who was strong last season in Ottawa, and a better team in front of him with lessen the load on Turco and improve his numbers.