Dallas Stars: One Area Each of Their Best Players Needs to Improve Next Season
This offseason the Dallas Stars have added a few pieces to bolster their offense. Now the roster holds a mix of potent veterans and younger guys oozing with talent.
In a division that holds two teams that made it to the Western Conference finals and the eventual Stanley Cup champions (Los Angeles Kings), they will need to get every bit they can from their squad.
Even with the free agency additions, there are still a few holes that current players could fill.
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The Stars traded James Neal for Alex Goligoski in hopes that he would provide some offense from the blue line.
In the 2010-2011 season, Goligoski put up 46 points between his time with the Stars and the Penguins. Last year, he only scored 30.
If the Stars are going to succeed, Goligoski needs to become more active in the offense. The best way to improve his point totals would be to work on the accuracy of his slap shot, which would provide more opportunities for rebound
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Jaromir Jagr played his first game in the NHL with the Philadelphia Flyers last season since leaving for the KHL. He was a productive player, but his return season was 17 points short of his total from the 2008 campaign with the Rangers.
During the regular season, Jagr was on the ice for 20 or more minutes seven times. He also had five games where he was on the ice for less than 10 minutes. That might be part of the reason for the decline in scoring.
Jagr will be a great addition as a veteran presence and on-ice coach, but he will need to step up as a contributor on offense if he wants to add another deep playoff run to his hall of fame resume.
He tallied 35 assists last season, which is his lowest total for a season in which he played more than 60 games since his rookie year. If he can feed the puck to Benn and Ryder, he will get that total up again.
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Kari Lehtonen has put up great numbers in his two seasons as a full-time starter in Dallas. He is only 28 and still has room to grow as a goalie.
The one thing he needs to work on is his in-game focus. Many times he has made an amazing stop only to allow a soft goal later in the game. Many of those cupcakes have come after there was a lot of time spent in the offensive zone.
Several times he has proven he has the ability to make difficult stops. If that focus emerges, even after down time, he can become one of the top net minders in the league.
The Pacific Division is already stacked with depth at goalie, so if he can eliminate most of those soft goals he can get the Stars a division title.
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Brenden Morrow had arguably the worst statistical season of his career. He averaged .46 points a game last season—his second worst points per game season was in 2001-2002 when he averaged .49 points a game.
Before last season, Morrow averaged .66 points a game. That may not seem like a big difference, but over the course of 82 games it comes out to roughly an extra 14 points.
Morrow is considered one of the tough guys on the team, and now that Steve Ott has departed to the Buffalo Sabres, the Stars will look to their captain to set a physical tone.
In order to improve on his offensive numbers, Morrow will have to use his toughness to get the short rebounds into the net.