Free agency hit the Dallas Stars like a freight train and it's not as though they didn't try to recover from it, it's that they really just couldn't.
First and foremost, they lost their cornerstone and kingpin in Brad Richards, who chose to move to New York.
However, they were also forced to part ways with veteran forward Jamie Langenbrunner, who signed an offer in St. Louis.
In an attempt to recover, Dallas made some gutsy moves early on in free agency, signing Michael Ryder from Boston to fill in for Langenbrunner. This is a solid deal, no question, and he'll provide a good wing to the likes of Mike Ribero.
Defensively, the Stars are taking a massive gamble on Sheldon Souray, who has not seen a single game in the NHL since late in the 2009-10 season, when his poor play saw him waived and sent down to the Minors by the Edmonton Oilers, who, in case you've been living under a rock the last few years, have been consistently the worst team in the NHL that entire time.
The Stars are hoping he can find his game again and prove to be the steal of free agency, but I really don't see that happening. He'll only give Dallas more headaches than help.
Their personnel is also really going to feel the pain of Richards' departure, as the No. 1 center duties now fall to Mike Ribero, who I'm not particularly sure is ready for the role just yet.
Likewise, Richards was by far the team's leading offensive player in just about every category, which means the rest of the team is going to have to find a way to seriously ramp up the offensive production this year if the Stars want to have any hope of competing.
Either way, I firmly believe Dallas will be watching the playoffs from their couches at home for the second-straight season.