Dallas Stars Thoughts and Ponderings

The Dallas Stars made several moves so far this offseason. But I have some thoughts and ponderings about the Stars, so let’s get directly to them.

So, You’re Telling Me There’s a Chance

The Dallas Stars’ No. 1 prospect Logan Stankoven will likely start the 2023-24 season with the Texas Stars. In 2022-23, Stankoven recorded 97 points (34 goals, 63 assists) with the WHL’s Kamloops Blazers and 11 points (three goals, eight assists) with Canada’s under-20 men’s national hockey team.

Stankoven shined in his most recent season as a Kamloops Blazer for the first time since 2021-22 when he recorded 104 points (45 goals, 59 assists) in 59 regular season games. Stankoven’s offensive play can put him in the spotlight if he maintains his streak and stays healthy. However, I think he’ll start this season with the Texas Stars because the Dallas Stars’ roster is occupied at the moment.

Where do you think Stankoven will start the season?

Someone New

Craig Smith is a veteran forward who signed a one-year, $1 million contract with the Dallas Stars on July 1, 2023. The 33-year-old center was born on September 5, 1989, in Madison, Wisconsin, where he graduated from La Follette High School in 2008.

Smith was selected 98th overall in the fourth round of the 2009 NHL Draft by the Nashville Predators. He became the first NHL player since Colin Wilson to join the Predators without playing for their AHL affiliate, the Milwaukee Admirals. He made his NHL debut on October 7, 2011, and scored his first NHL goal against Steve Mason of the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Previously, Smith played college hockey at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, just like his new teammates Joe Pavelski and Ryan Suter did. He also played for the U.S. men’s national ice hockey team at the 2011 IIHF Championship and major junior hockey for the USHL’s Waterloo Black Hawks.

Smith played for the Boston Bruins from 2020-23 and the Washington Capitals from 2022-23. He recorded just six points (five goals, one assist) in his lone season in Washington, D.C., a dip compared to his previous double-digit points in Boston and Nashville.

How do you think Smith will fare in 2023-24?

Encore Maybe

Dallas Stars center Wyatt Johnston had an impressive rookie season in 2022-23 with 41 points (24 goals, 17 assists) in 82 regular season games and six points (four goals, two assists) in 19 postseason games. The 20-year-old forward was born and raised in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, and upon arrival in Dallas, Texas, lived with veteran teammate Joe Pavelski and his family.

Johnston was a force in his first season in the NHL. His offensive talent, speed, and scoring ability have helped him impress fans, but fans shouldn’t expect him to replicate Year 1. His role as a goal scorer might be overshadowed by the increased defensive attention from opposing NHL teams.

Do you expect Johnston to replicate his rookie season in his sophomore year?

Future Vision

This has been a rough offseason for some Dallas Stars fans, but there’s a light at the end of the tunnel.

The Texas Rangers baseball team has been entertaining, especially if you’re an MLB fan. But the Dallas Stars hockey team has been exhilarating to watch, thanks to their extreme competitiveness.

The Stars’ first preseason game will be on September 24 at 5:00 pm Central against the Arizona Coyotes at the H-E-B Center in Cedar Park, Texas. The Stars will open the regular season on October 12 against the St. Louis Blues at the American Airlines Center.

Is it October yet?

What Ifs

“I wonder if the two teams that lost in the [Eastern and Western] Conference Finals [this year] will face each other in the [Stanley Cup] Final next year,” said a fan that wished to remain anonymous.

In the 2023 Conference Finals, Dallas lost in six games to the Vegas Golden Knights, while the Carolina Hurricanes got shut out in four games by the Florida Panthers.

The Stars finished the regular season in second place in the Central Division with 108 points in 82 games and a 47-21-14 record. The Panthers finished the regular season in first place in the Metropolitan Division with 113 points in 82 games and a 52-21-9 record.

It’s too early to tell, but anything can happen. I think it’s a stretch for these two teams, especially the Panthers, to punch their tickets to the 2024 Stanley Cup Final. But I won’t disregard either team. The Stars have a championship team, but their offensive defensemen must step up. The Panthers can advance to their second straight Stanley Cup Final, but they need to improve their defense and blue line, which I think they’ve done with their offseason moves thus far.

Do you think there will be a Stars-Hurricanes Stanley Cup Final next year?

Ana Kieu

Ana Kieu is a journalist by trade. Her love for sports shows in her writing, editing, and podcasting work. She writes about the NHL for Inside The Rink.

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