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Poll: Are the Stars legit Stanley Cup contenders?

Aug 8, 2014, 11:59 AM EDT

Valeri Nichushkin, Tyler Seguin, Jamie Benn AP

First, the argument for YES:

Of course the Dallas Stars are Stanley Cup contenders. How can you possibly look at that collection of talent and say they’re not? They’ve got two of the top young stars in the NHL with Tyler Seguin and Jamie Benn. Plus, they added Jason Spezza, giving them the kind of one-two punch down the middle that only the league’s elite teams possess. And, oh yeah, they also signed Ales Hemsky, one of the most underrated wingers in the game. Plus, 19-year-old Valeri Nichushkin is only going to be better this season. Heck, you could argue the Stars were legitimate contenders in 2013-14. They were a top 10 possession team during the regular season, and if goalie Kari Lehtonen hadn’t underperformed in the playoffs, they would’ve beaten the Ducks.

Now, the argument for NO:

Look, the Stars have some nice pieces up front. Nobody’s denying that. And nobody’s denying they’re a fun team to watch. But Cup contenders? Come on. That blue line is not even close to championship caliber. You know who wins Stanley Cups? Teams with guys like Drew Doughty, Duncan Keith, and Zdeno Chara playing big minutes on the back end. You know who doesn’t? A team with Alex Goligoski and Trevor Daley on its top pair. How Jim Nill is “excited” about his defense is a complete mystery. Maybe in a few years, when some of the Stars’ defensive prospects have developed, we can say they’re legit contenders. But not yet. Especially not in the Western Conference.

OK, go vote:

  1. lordfletcher - Aug 8, 2014 at 12:15 PM

    Legitimate is the key word and the answer is no.

    Adding Spezza isn’t enough to rival others in the mighty west. Dallas will be battling for a playoff spot. May be as high as 6, could be as low as 12 w/ injuries

    • rtookey - Aug 8, 2014 at 12:23 PM

      Id honestly be surprised if they arent top 5 in the west. That a good roster full of character players.

      • titansbro - Aug 8, 2014 at 12:59 PM

        If I could describe Tyler Segun as anything it would be “character player.”

    • lordfletcher - Aug 8, 2014 at 12:26 PM

      Dallas is realistically the fourth or fifth best team in their own division next year. Way too early to talk Stanley.

      • endusersolutions2013 - Aug 8, 2014 at 12:41 PM

        Agreed – Blues, Wild and Hawks also look to have improved. If the Stars were in the EC, they’d likely. The Sagarin rankings had them at 14th in the NHL, with the 4th hardest Strength of Schedule. Over the total season, Stars were 42 and 46. Even if they improve to 47 and 41, they still don’t crack the top 10.

        4 teams in the central div teams finished higher in the statistical rankings.

        http://sagarin.com/sports/nhlsend.htm

  2. justanotherphillyfan - Aug 8, 2014 at 12:21 PM

    Sure they are, Jamie Benn is a 90 Overall player this year.

  3. jacketsfan7 - Aug 8, 2014 at 12:25 PM

    I believe there’s no reason they can’t win a playoff series or 2 but cup contenders? No, not yet

    • govtminion - Aug 8, 2014 at 12:51 PM

      Exactly my thought. Maybe with a couple more years and some more pieces put in on defense, but right now I wouldn’t like their chances of getting past Chicago or Los Angeles to get to the Finals. (Maybe faint praise, but I DO think if they got that far they’re a better team than most in the East, with the exception of Boston)

      • endusersolutions2013 - Aug 8, 2014 at 12:58 PM

        Looking at a healthy Stamkos and other off season improvements, I’d add Tampa to the list.

        If Trotz gets the Caps to actually play D, or if the Pens benefit from the coaching & GM change, they could be better.

        So their possible place might be 3rd to 5th in the EC.

  4. redwings4013 - Aug 8, 2014 at 12:26 PM

    Lmao did u actually just relate this to a video game…

  5. leeeroooyjeeenkiiins - Aug 8, 2014 at 12:27 PM

    I think they could be in the East, but the West has too much depth for them to get through all 3 rounds.

  6. mshantz22 - Aug 8, 2014 at 12:33 PM

    I wouldn’t say that they are a Stanley cup contender, especially in the western conference. That being said, as long as their goalie can stay healthy, they should be able to make the playoffs somewhat easily. As for their defense, they do have a big young player in Jamie Oleksiak who will probably go up to Dallas this season. This is probably one of the best teams Dallas has had since the days of Turco, Zubov and Modano.

  7. endusersolutions2013 - Aug 8, 2014 at 12:34 PM

    The reality is that they finished 5th in the central last year. Blues, Wild and Hawks also look to be better. Kings signed Gaborick, which if healthy, really helped their “Big D, little o” dynamic.

    Sure they make the playoffs, and very likely go higher than 5th in the central. But I can’t see them actually winning the central division playoff series. Hawks and Blues have the depth and defense.

    The same principle applies to the Aves, who like the Stars will likely make the playoffs and be an exciting team in the process. But if you look at the SC finalists the last 5 years, you’ll find that the contenders are top 10 defensively, and most of the time top 5. Stars were 15th in GAA, 19th on the PK. So lets look at history:

    2014 Kings were #1 in GAA, Rangers 4th
    2013 Hawks #1, Bruins #3
    2012 Kings #2, NJ #9
    2011 Canucks #1, Bruins #3
    2010 Hawks #5, Flyers 15th.

    So all but one of the 10 were top 10, and 4 of 5 years, the team that was better in D won, the exception being #1 vs. #3, which is pretty close.

    • mshantz22 - Aug 8, 2014 at 1:17 PM

      I’m pretty sure that it would be the same numbers with offense. I don’t have the numbers myself, but i’m pretty sure the higher goals scored won the cup 4 out of the last 5 as well.

      • endusersolutions2013 - Aug 8, 2014 at 1:32 PM

        Not at all – overall teams in the SC finals were stronger defensively than offensively. Looking at Goals For Average this time:

        2014 Kings #25, Rangers 17th
        2013 Hawks #3, Bruins #14
        2012 Kings #29, NJ #15
        2011 Canucks #1, Bruins #5
        2010 Hawks #3, Flyers 8th.

        While not a Kings fan at all, when their fans claim that they are a team build for the playoffs, they have a point.

  8. nightfireop - Aug 8, 2014 at 12:41 PM

    as a kings fan if not us, i’d like to see the stars win :)

  9. withseidelinn - Aug 8, 2014 at 1:06 PM

    Definitely on the rise, but there’s a little too much hype around this team right now. Great moves made in the offseason no doubt, but their defense is just average. I think if they move Gonchar and open up some spots for kids like Oleksiak who could develop into a star, then they might have something special. Right now, no.

  10. billiam55 - Aug 8, 2014 at 1:16 PM

    right now they look like a 2nd round team. def a team who is capable of winning and making the playoffs. they’re getting there though.

    • endusersolutions2013 - Aug 8, 2014 at 1:41 PM

      So, depending on seeding, you’re projecting that they would beat the Hawks or Blues in a series? Could you flesh out the thinking a bit?

      • 19to77 - Aug 8, 2014 at 2:00 PM

        I don’t find that too unreasonable a prospect. They’d certainly have their work cut out for them, but a seven-game series can have shocking momentum swings – one thought that comes to mind is that all three teams have goaltenders that can be pretty hot and cold. Lehtonen, Crawford and Elliott all have some consistency issues, and Allen’s still an unknown at the NHL level – so goaltending could make or break any of those teams in a tight playoff battle. It isn’t LIKELY they’d win either of those contests on paper, but on the flip side… it’s the playoffs. Sh-t happens.

      • endusersolutions2013 - Aug 8, 2014 at 2:32 PM

        Understand, and could get there (what you said), is very different than projecting them to get to the 2nd round.

      • billiam55 - Aug 9, 2014 at 1:25 AM

        what i mean is they have a good fight in them to put up in the 1st round and assuming they get someone lower than them they could beat em.

  11. dboldave - Aug 8, 2014 at 3:12 PM

    They have more than enough firepower up front but you need a goalie who can steal a game or two and a defenseman who can shutdown the other teams top threat. When you consider how tough the West is right now, you can’t expect to get far with just scoring ability.

  12. gbatap - Aug 8, 2014 at 4:14 PM

    Maybe check the facts before making ridiculous arguments. Goose averaged more regulation minutes in the playoffs then any of the guys you listed. There’s definitely a argument about whether he’s a true #1 d, until he proves he can do it consistently, but minutes played isn’t it.

  13. scout202sport - Aug 9, 2014 at 7:46 AM

    As a Kings fan I think a real honest assessment of any team in the Western Conference is pretty fought to make. So many teams that are so talented with a shot at the Cup this season. One thing I’m pretty certain of is that the Cup will remain in the Western Conference again. They should change the name of the Conference to Western Murderers Row. That seems more fitting given all the good teams. IS IT OCTOBER YET?!?!

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