Apr 27, 2013; Dallas, TX, USA; Dallas Stars defenseman Philip Larsen (36) skates on to the ice to face the Detroit Red Wings at the American Airlines Center. The Red Wings shut out the Stars 3-0. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

2013-14 NHL Season Preview: Dallas Stars

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The NHL has a new look heading into the 2013-14 season, and as we continue our look around the league we now focus our efforts on the Dallas Stars.
The Stars will enter the 13-14 season in a new division and with a new look, once again.
This time I spoke with Scott Robbins of Blackout Dallas.  Here is what he had to say about the Stars:
1.  The Stars made a major move picking up Tyler Seguin this offseason and appear to have a lot of promise up front. Do you see Jamie and Seguin as a powerhouse duo?

The simple answer is yes, they will be a powerhouse duo for some time. Seguin, 21, is under contract for six years. Benn, 24, is under contract for the next for four seasons. Stars GM Jim Nill pieced this line together to be the top line and the face(s) of the Stars organization for years to come. Think the next Kane-Toews, or more accurately, Zetterberg and Datsyuk, as it was Nill himself who pieced that duo together during his time as Assistant GM in Detroit.

Side note: Nill’s plan all along was to move Benn to LW and pair him with a more than capable Center. He dropped Benn’s name in a pre-draft interview as a Winger before the Stars drafted Nichuskin or traded for Seguin.
2.  The Blues and North Stars once had solid rivalry.  Looking into both teams past, the Dallas Stars stole Brett Hull away and he won a cup.  Now the Blues have coach Ken Hitchcock and both teams are loaded with young talent.  Do you think there is the chance for a new rivalry?
The Hull and Hitchcock history adds some drama and intensity, but Colorado (also in-division) provides more intensity and history with Dallas. However, I think there is a rivalry to be born. The Sharks and Stars became rivals in the Pacific division as the years passed on both teams. Though it’s not a rivalry now, I think we’ll see some games in the next few years that will surely instigate a fun rivalry between St. Louis and Dallas.
3.  What team are you most concerned about in the new Central Division and why?
The easy answer here is Chicago, who will be defending their Stanley Cup title this season. The Blackhawks had to part ways with some key members of the Cup winning team, but they still have their core players, plenty of talent to fill in the holes, and Joel Quenneville behind the bench.
4.  What team entering the new division are you least concerned about and why?
This might come as a surprise, but Minnesota doesn’t frighten me. Nashville will probably finish last in the division this season, but they have a capable goaltender, and with the addition of Seth Jones, they are getting better. Scoring goals will still be an issue for Nashville this season, but they will continue to add young talent over the next few seasons. However, with Minnesota, I just don’t see them getting better than they were last season. They have two long contracts with Parise and Suter and I just don’t see much improvement long-term from the Wild. Minnesota will be a playoff team, but I can’t see them making leaps and bounds to become an actual contender for the next few years.
5.  With the Western Conference having just 14 teams to the Eastern Conference’s 16, do you think another mid-western team makes sense?  Where would you want to put one and would it make for a good rivalry?
I understand moving Detroit back to the East. They are in the Eastern time zone, will continue their rivalry with Toronto, but Detroit has rivalries with almost every team in the Central division, Stars and Avalanche included. I think if the NHL makes the conferences even once again, they bring Detroit back to the West.
6.  How do you expect the Stars to do in 2013-14 with all of the roster moves they have made?  Will there be any breakout stars we should keep an eye on?
For the first time in a long time, the city of Dallas is in on the Stars. In short time, Owner Tom Gaglardi has pieced together a young, exciting team to watch on the ice. Credit has to go to former GM Joe Nieuwendyk who found and developed great young talent while handcuffed due to the organization’s past financial woes. Now that young talent is blooming and new GM Jim Nill is working his wisdom by piecing together a winner. The Stars will end their playoff drought and be among the top eight in the Western Conference this year. More so, this team is as energetic as they’ve been since the glory days in the late 90s and early 2000s. The Stars will turn heads this season, and I think they will be one of the scary, young teams that no one will want to face come playoff time.
As for breakout Stars, I will give three names with breakout potential; one of which you might know, the others you probably don’t.
The one you might know is Brenden Dillon. He’s 6′ 4″, which means he’s grown nearly a foot since he was passed over in the WHL Bantam Draft. Kudos to Joe Nieuwendyk for finding this late bloomer. He’s strong, physical, can drop the mitts at any given time, and he can carry the puck as well. His offensive game is still a work in progress, but Dillon is becoming one of the young leaders on this team. When Stars fans see Dillon’s style of play, they are quickly reminded of former Stars Captain Derian Hatcher. Dillon should have been more in the discussion for the Calder Trophy. Look for Dillon to finally get the national attention he deserves this year.
The two you might not know about are Alex Chiasson and Cody Eakin.
Chiasson is an interesting player for Dallas. The organization knew he had potential, but he kind of shocked us all with his incredible NHL start. He was called up late in the season from the AHL after the semi-fire sale (Morrow to Pittsburgh, Jagr to Boston) to fill in the holes. He was put on the same line as Ray Whitney who can be a wizard with the puck, and Whitney and Chiasson found instant chemistry. In six games, he lit the lamp six times. Chiasson was sidelined with a shoulder injury that forced him to miss the rest of the season. It’ll be interesting to see what Chiasson can do this season. Will he continue his solid start or was last season a fluke?
Cody Eakin is probably the least likely of the three to break-out, but the kid has tenacity. Eakin, or as fan-adored Stars color commentator Daryl Reaugh calls him, the “Ginga Ninja” is a quick, feisty player who’s game continues to improve. He’s the example of a good third line center, and we’ll just have to see what he can add to his game this season.

I want to thank Scott once again for taking the time to answer a few questions for us about the Dallas Stars in the upcoming 2013-14 season.  For more information about the Blues, Stars and every other team in the league, stay tuned to Bleedin’ Blue and follow us on Facebook.

LET’S GO BLUES!

-Alex Hodschayan

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Tags: 2013-14 Central Division Dallas Stars Season Preview St. Louis Blues

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