There are a lot of young teams with potential that expect to make the playoffs at the start of the year.
However, when the bullets start flying and the games start to count, many of those teams learn the harsh reality that it's difficult to win consistently in the NHL and the playoffs are just a pipe dream. If you want examples, take a look at the Edmonton Oilers and Winnipeg Jets. Both teams have impressive individual talent and both finished on the outside looking in.
The Stars felt good about their chances this year but quickly learned how hard it is to string wins together. But the core group of players continued to get better and play more cohesively with each passing game.
Tyler Seguin, Jamie Benn, Alex Goligoski, Trevor Daley, Alex Chiasson and Valeri Nichushkin give this team a solid core that should only get better. They were good enough to make the playoffs and push an excellent team like the Ducks to overtime of the sixth game.
The team grew from its experience this year, which included a near tragedy in March when Rich Peverley collapsed on the bench after his heart stopped beating. The team's medical staff performed admirably and were able to restore his heartbeat within seconds.
When Peverley regained consciousness, his first thoughts were about getting back into the game and helping his team. That's how much he wanted to play and how committed he was to helping his team.
It's an example of how badly this team wants to play and improve every night.