Dallas Stars 2017-18 Season Preview: Coming Full Circle In Year 25
By now, everyone already knows about the hiring of Ken Hitchcock. Coach Hitchcock is best known for his Stanley Cup championship win here in Dallas. Hitchcock is also known for vastly improving teams he has coached. Most recently the bench-Boss for the St. Louis Blues, Ken Hitchcock would find himself ousted as head coach in February of last year. Strangely enough, the Dallas Stars would find themselves having some terrible luck.
Not only would the Stars find themselves in such a bad spot that every team they played would start their backups, fans and the team later found out that a member of the Stars family had cancer. So, the Stars go through the season biding time. The trade deadline came and went, and a few names found new homes. Lauri Korpikoski was traded to Columbus for Dillon Heatherington, Johnny Oduya was sent to Chicago for Mark McNeill and a draft pick, Jordie Benn was sent to Montreal for Greg Pateryn and a pick, finally Patrick Eaves was traded to Anaheim for a conditional draft pick. The trades didn’t stop there. Dallas would deal a draft pick and prospect in this past draft to Vegas for Marc Methot. Finally, in the summer months, Dallas would send a draft pick to Los Angeles for Ben Bishop.
With the coming of the new faces, Dallas had to purge its roster of players for which there were no plans. Antti Niemi was bought out, Patrick Sharp would return to Chicago, and Ales Hemsky would sign with Montreal. Along with these trades and departures, the Stars would go on to sign some more players.
Key Signings For Dallas:
Alexander Radulov: Signed through 2021-22 season.
Martin Hanzal: Signed through 2019-20 season.
Tyler Pitlick: Signed through 2019-20 season.
Ben Bishop: Signed after being traded to Dallas. Contract runs through 2022-23 season.
Big Plans Coming With Ken Hitchcock At The Controls
The biggest “project” that may be at the forefront is Tyler Seguin becoming a two-way Center. While it was brought up as a concern, Tyler has not shown any sign of it becoming an issue. In fact, with Hitchcock, Tyler Seguin and Jamie Benn will be able to stay in their natural positions. What will be the result? That is a tough question now. However, this team will have some new faces on it, in hopes of doing new (better) things.
With players like Julius Honka and Jamie Oleksiak on defense, the backend of the Stars has certainly gotten bigger. One thing is for certain. Dallas being pushed around like last year, well, it will be very difficult. If the names don’t do it for you, the Stars have a young man who can skate, score, and fight. His name is Gemel Smith. Smith had played a handful of games and looked good last year. What Smith did during the preseason this year seemed to guarantee himself a spot on the 23-man roster.
Summing It Up
The Dallas Stars needed a change in the worst way, and they did just that. Fans will no longer see the coaching style of Lindy Ruff that seemed to leave fans scratching their heads. Instead, fans will see a style that Dallas had all but perfected in its Stanley Cup days. Speaking of which, the Stars can 100% say the team has come full circle in year 25. Hitchcock is back home where he has had the most success, some of the same names from that staff have been brought back as well. And, the Stars have a Number 1 Center whom all “experts” believe cannot play a 2-way game. Ken Hitchcock helped shape the game of another certain player. That player, Mike Modano, is now in the Hockey Hall of Fame. Many fans criticized this coaching change. Many fans loved it. We are about to see just how well it really works. And, if you want proof Hitchcock is good, one of his players (Jere Lehtinen) will have his number hung in the rafters at the American Airlines Center as well.
With that said, the Stars management believes it has all pieces are there for a good season. Now, the Stars just need to focus and fight to reach the goal. One reason they should fight: Dave Strader who battled cancer last season, all the way until he had no fight left in him a few days ago.