While everyone is prognosticating about the Montreal Canadiens and the New York Rangers, the Dallas Stars may surprise everyone this winter. Despite their ugly uniforms they might just have the best offensively balanced team in the NHL. Dallas, Montreal and the Rangers are all on the top of their division with 30 points each. Dallas watchers will note that the team seems to be getting quicker and more dominant in the opponents zone. Considering that their roster now includes Jamie Benn, Tyler Seguin, Patrick Sharp and Jason Spezza, the potential is there for a long playoff run
What is unique about the Stars lineup is the balance, not just in talent but in age. They now have a winning blend of veterans and young players as well as character players that have been in the Stanley Cup playoffs like Patrick Sharp and Johnny Oduya and the solid goaltending of Kari Lehtonen and Anti Niemi. Ales Hemsky, Cody Eakin and Travis Moen also contribute to the Stars new improved team makeup and make it a struggle for opposing teams seeking a weakness in the lineup that they have always found in previous seasons.
Speaking of Previous seasons, one of the Dallas Stars biggest headaches has been the consistency of their defense corps, but some adroit player moves have changed the productivity quotient. Oduya is currently a +6, Jason Demers is a +7 and Klinberg is a +10. Of course plus minus numbers do not tell the entire story, but the difference comparing last season to this one is so apparent that Stevie Wonder can see it.
The Stars owe a lot of their resurgence to some excellent trades which landed Seguin, Sharp, and Oduya. The trade of Loui Erickson, Joseph Morrow and Reilly Smith to Boston for Tyler Seguin and Rich Peverley may go down as one of the most lopsided ever if the Stars continue to improve. Benn, who won the Art Ross Trophy last season, Seguin, Spezza and Sharp are each scoring key goals while proving the a great offense is a good defense.
The Bruin’s run for the Stanley Cup and their huge popularity can be traced back to the trade that sent Phil Esposito and Fred Stanfield to the Bruins form the Chicago Blackhawks for center Pit Martin
Although Martin had a good career with the Hawks, it was the acquisition of Esposito and Stanfield that provided the Bruins with the character, personality and chemistry that propelled them into the stratosphere.
The transaction was often referred to as “The Trade” and hockey enthusiasts and historians point to that player exchange as the match that ignited the Big Bad Bruins.
Seguin’s move to Dallas could one day be called “the Trade 2. Although it is early in the season and there are still a considerable amount of doubters, the Stars appear to be for real.
We will see very soon.