Dallas Stars season preview
The Dallas Stars are going to be a very exciting team to watch in the 2023-24 season. This is a team that is looking to build off its run to the 2023 Western Conference Finals with another excellent regular season. The Stars finished one point behind the Avalanche last season, but this group got stronger this summer. Dallas has elite goaltending, a ton of goal scorers, and a good enough defense. This team is a top Stanley Cup contender.
Dallas is as strong as it gets when it comes to offensive talent and this group is incredibly deep. Jason Robertson and Roope Hintz have made themselves household names at this point of their careers. Robertson has put up back-to-back 40+ goal seasons while at the same time, Hintz has put up back-to-back 37-goal seasons. Wyatt Johnston is looking to build off of a strong 24-goal rookie campaign and they have added some depth by bringing in NHL veteran Matt Duchene, along with Sam Steel and Craig Smith to help round out the bottom six.
As a team, the Stars finished with the league’s fifth-best power play (25.0%), 10th in high-danger scoring chances per 60 minutes, and seventh in expected goals for percentage (54%). Dallas is an offensive juggernaut.
The Stars aren’t necessarily one of the best defensive teams in the league. Outside of Miro Heiskanen, this blue line is slightly average, but I wouldn’t say deep. One of the major reasons they couldn’t get by Vegas in the Western Conference Finals was their defensive struggles. That said, they finished with the third-best goals against per game last season (2.62), but that was largely due to their goaltending. They got better defensively last season, as they finished in the top 5 for expected goals against (2.79), but they’ll have to tighten up a bit at 5-on-5 if they want to win the Stanley Cup.
After a disappointing showing in the 2023 postseason, the goaltending will need to get back on track. Jake Oettinger was one of the best goaltenders in the league last season but struggled come playoff time. That being said, this was a good experience for him to gain and he will look to build off of his 37-win season last year. He started in 61 contests, boasting a .919 save percentage with a 2.37 goals against average, and the league’s 12th best +11.8 goals saved above expected. I don’t expect Scott Wedgewood to get that many looks as the backup netminder, but he held his own last season earning nine wins with a .915 save percentage. When Oettinger is at his best, this Dallas team is very scary.
Player To Watch – G Jake Oettinger
There are plenty of talented players on this Stars roster, but I think the most important one of all is their goaltender. Oettinger solidified himself last season as one of the NHL’s most elite netminders, and he could be a serious Vezina candidate in the 2023-24 campaign. He’s only 24, so he will continue to get better and take further steps in his career, but Oettinger put up insane numbers last season, and I think he will have a chip on his shoulder after losing in last year’s Western Conference Finals.
This team didn’t have many flaws during the regular season last year, but a couple of mistakes cost the group a trip to the Stanley Cup Final. I think the Stars got better this offseason due to some strong acquisitions and their postseason run should give them a boost of confidence. This is a very deep team with excellent goaltending. I think they could compete for the division title and I wouldn’t be surprised if they win the Western Conference.