With the new NHL season just over a week away, here is a preview of the Dallas Stars’ first five games of the 2018-19 season.
Get excited. Dallas Stars hockey is finally back. After a rough end to the 2017-18 campaign, the Stars are looking to start fresh this year and look to push for a Stanley Cup. Over the past offseason, I’ve written several articles during the NHL offseason, player moves and signings, potential trades, league news, and more. But nothing beats writing when the season is underway.
So, I felt that it would be appropriate to lay out the Dallas Stars first five games of the season. First, however, here is what I predict their opening night roster will look like (to some extent).
Jamie Benn (C) – Tyler Seguin (A) – Alexander Radulov
Mattias Janmark – Jason Spezza – Vladimir Nichushkin
Blake Comeau – Radek Faksa – Brett Richie
Gemel Smith – Devin Shore – Tyler Pitlick
Esa Lindell – John Klingberg (A)
Marc Methot – Miro Heiskanen
Stephen Johns – Roman Polak/Julius Honka
Martin Hanzal – Injured
Roman Polak or Julius Honka – Scratches
LW Remi Elie, C Denis Gurianov, and LW Roope Hintz are all listed as non-roster players, according to CapFriendly. Of the three, Elie is most likely to get moved up to Dallas’ roster. Defenseman Dillon Heatherington is also not listed on Dallas roster, despite playing a handful of games towards the end of last season.
Here are Dallas’ first five games of the 2018-19 season.
Game 1 – Thursday, October 4 – vs. Arizona
The Stars’ first game of the season is their home-opener against the Arizona Coyotes. Arizona will most likely be without Alex Galchenyuk (who they acquired from Montreal in exchange for Max Domi in June), who is week to week with a lower-body injury.
Though they will be without him, Arizona made other moves to prepare them for a new season. They signed center Christian Dvorak to a six-year extension (through 2024-25) in early August, extended all-star defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson to an eight-year contract and forward Michael Grabner to a three-year deal.
They also traded Marcus Kruger, Jordan Maletta, MacKenzie Entwistle, and Andrew Cambell to the Chicago Blackhawks in exchange for forward Vinnie Hinostroza and defenseman Jordan Oesterle (and the contract of Marian Hossa).
Arizona finished dead last in the Western Conference last season with just 70 points (29-41-12), and ended up with the 3rd worst record in the league behind Buffalo and Ottawa, respectively. Look for them to shake things up this year under a new CEO and with several new players in their roster.
Game 2 – Saturday, October 6 – vs. Winnipeg
Dallas’ second game of the season is against Central Division rivals; the Winnipeg Jets. Anyone who followed NHL hockey last season knows that Winnipeg played great last season, tallying 114 points (52-20-10), enough to secure them a playoff spot.
Winnipeg finished 5th in the league in goals per game (3.12), 3rd in goals against (2.47), 5th in power play percentage (24.5%), and 9th in penalty kill percentage (76.2%).
In terms of their roster, much of is it the same, as they only added D Cameron Schilling, RW Dennis Everberg, and LW Skyler McKenzie. They did resign several roster players, including but not limited to G Connor Hellebuyck, LW Adam Lowry, D Jacob Trouba, LW Brandon Tanev, D Poolman Tucker, C Marko Dano, C Nick Petan, C Francis Beauvillier, LW Kristian Vesalainen, RW Blake Wheeler, and D Josh Morrissey.
It’ll be interesting to see how Winnipeg will fit all of their players under the salary cap next season, as Patrik Laine, Tyler Myers, Jacob Trouba, and Brandon Tanev are just a few names of guys who’ll become free agents next year.
For now, however, Winnipeg will most likely continue to be a powerhouse in the Western Conference.