Now that the Dallas Stars have signed center Tyler Seguin to a multi-year extension, they can get to work on fulfilling their sizable potential.
In retrospect, it was probably more of a formality than it first appeared. The Dallas Stars announced last Thursday that they’d signed their talented center to an eight-year, $78.8 million contract extension, which keeps him in locked up through 2026-27. Better yet, the deal is quite team friendly in that it doesn’t hamstring the Stars’ salary cap. Seguin himself said he wanted a fair deal and didn’t wish to handcuff the team from a financial standpoint.
The other thing this extension does is lock the Stars’ group of marquee players into place for the next several years. On paper, the list is quite formidable. You’ve got right winger Alexander Radulov, captain Jamie Benn, defenseman John Klingberg, and goalie Ben Bishop signed through at least 2021-22, if not further. For better or for worse, the veteran core is in place. It’s now up to them to lead this organization to a place they’re not very familiar with: the NHL playoffs.
So with all the anticipation over Seguin’s deal now in their rear view, the focus is once again on how much this team has underachieved in recent years. Sure, the fan base is cocooned in a warm fuzzy over recent developments. We can all rejoice in the ongoing best-friends act between Seguin and his line mate Benn. Yes, they’re electrifying to watch in large stretches, but the fact remains that the Stars regressed into a one-line team as the season wore on last year.
Furthermore, this bunch is largely composed of the same players, so we enter this year expecting a different result from essentially the same team. And look, it get it. Each season is different than the last. We also have the return of winger Valeri Nuchushkin and the arrival of purported defensive wunderkind Miro Heiskanen to look forward to. I don’t want this to seem all doom and gloom. This is a talented squad.
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The problem here, though, is that they’re stuck in the toughest division in hockey. While the Stars have the roster to compete for a playoff spot, they also have to contend with the likes of Nashville, Winnipeg, Minnesota, Colorado, and St. Louis, all of which finished above them in the standings last season. To further reinforce the difficulty of the task ahead of them, Dallas only won eight of the twenty-two games against those clubs last year. In fact, their struggles within the Central Division were the element that undermined any hopes they had of making the playoffs. That has to change if they want to be successful this year.
But as is the case with any sport in training camp, hope springs eternal. If I’m being fair, the Stars played very well before they imploded last year. They looked like they were on their way to making the playoffs and being a very tough out. It just didn’t work out, and that happens. Their collapse was monumental, and it was extremely rough to watch it play out in real time. But if new head coach Jim Montgomery discovers with levers to pull, then perhaps the same parts can be used to create a much larger sum.
At the end of the day, it basically all comes down to Seguin. With the new contract under his belt, the fortunes of the Dallas Stars are tied to him for the foreseeable future. He’s coming off a stellar year in which he became a viable two-way threat in the mold of the legendary Mike Modano. If he continues to blossom into that role, the rest of the team can fall in line, and maybe the playoffs could become the rule and not the exception.
- Published on 09/17/2018 at 22:01 PM
- Last updated at 09/17/2018 at 17:18 PM