The Dallas Stars finished second-to-last in the Central division, only behind the Chicago Blackhawks. They missed the playoffs for the second time in a row, and are searching to find their way into the postseason with a new season quickly approaching.
Here are two bold predictions:
Offensive Prediction: Tyler Seguin will reach 90+ points
Although this prediction might be a little far-fetched given Dallas’ current roster breakdown (and their perceived results next year), it’s certainly not outside the realm of reality.
If you asked 1,000 NHL fans what the best duo is in the Western Conference, I’d be willing to bet that a decent amount of them would say Tyler Seguin and Jamie Benn.
If you followed the Stars at all last season, you know that Seguin and Benn played well in 2017-18, with Benn leading the Stars in points with 79 (36 G, 43 A) and Seguin finishing right behind the Captain with 78 (40 G, 38 A).
Even though they both put up a good amount of points (so did Radulov, too, with 72), we know that the each of them has the caliber to be even better.
Why, you ask, am I referencing Jamie Benn when this prediction is about Tyler Seguin? The answer?
There is no doubt that Tyler Seguin is a fantastic player, arguably one of the best scorers in the NHL. However, he plays even better when Benn (or Radulov) is on the same line as him. Since Benn, also an elite player, has shown his offensive presence in past seasons, teams are also worried about defending him in front of the net (among other places), which leaves Seguin with more scoring opportunities.
The same goes the opposite way. Seguin is such an offensive threat that opposing teams’ defenses sometimes leave Jamie open down low or down the slot. They feed off of each other’s ability to score, and it works.
The problem with over-stacking your top one or two lines, though, is that if you don’t have depth, you’re screwed. Winnipeg, for example, can stick Nikolaj Ehlers, Blake Wheeler, and Patrik Laine on a line together if they want because the rest of their roster can back them up. For Dallas, it’s tough to say the same. This is why Ken Hitchcock often split up the Benn-Seguin-Radulov line last season as a sort of “divide and conquer” strategy.
Assuming he stays as healthy as he’s been over the past few seasons, Tyler Seguin can easily crack 90, maybe even 100 points next season. He has the talent, the hockey IQ, and the linemates to do it. Especially considering he becomes an unrestricted free agent after this season (though hopefully Dallas extends his contract before next offseason), and will be looking for a long-term, large-raise deal. If Dallas is smart (which I think they are), they will give it to him, because Seguin deserves every penny he’ll ask for.