Tyler Seguin showed off his explosive offensive ability in 2013-14.
The Stars believed they had a chance to acquire a legitimate superstar when the Boston Bruins made Tyler Seguin available in a trade last July. While they paid a stiff price in giving up Loui Eriksson and Reilly Smith to acquire Seguin, it is clear the Stars have one of the brightest lights in the NHL.
Seguin led the Stars with 37 goals and 47 assists, while linemate Jamie Benn had 34 goals and 45 assists. Defenseman Alex Goligoski showed his versatility and talent with six goals and 36 assists, while Cody Eakin, Valeri Nichushkin and Alex Chiasson all played key roles for Lindy Ruff.
Eakin, Trevor Daley and Shawn Horcoff were all particularly valuable in the Stars' postseason series against the Anaheim Ducks.
Erik Cole is a former NHL star, but he did not offer much to the Stars this season. He finished the year with 16 goals and 13 assists, along with a painful minus-17 rating.
Defenseman Sergei Gonchar appears to be at the end of the line. Gonchar used to be a dynamic offensive performer—particularly on the power play—but he rarely showed that ability this year, as he had two goals and 20 assists. His minus-12 rating indicated that he was a liability.
Goalie Kari Lehtonen performed adequately in the regular season, but he struggled in the postseason against the Ducks. His 3.29 goals-against average and .885 save percentage in the playoffs were simply not good enough to help his teammates overcome a top-notch opponent.
The Stars took a huge step forward in playing well down the stretch (8-5-0 in the final 13 games) and earning a spot in the playoffs. They have explosive speed throughout the lineup, and the future appears to be bright. Nill will likely need at least two more seasons to turn the team into a legitimate Stanley Cup contender.