Mediocrity is the norm, and the norm is uncertain for the Dallas Stars

DALLAS, TEXAS - JANUARY 12: Ryan O'Reilly #90 of the St. Louis Blues controls the puck against Esa Lindell #23 of the Dallas Stars and Ben Bishop #30 of the Dallas Stars in the third period at American Airlines Center on January 12, 2019 in Dallas, Texas. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
DALLAS, TEXAS - JANUARY 12: Ryan O'Reilly #90 of the St. Louis Blues controls the puck against Esa Lindell #23 of the Dallas Stars and Ben Bishop #30 of the Dallas Stars in the third period at American Airlines Center on January 12, 2019 in Dallas, Texas. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images) /

As the Dallas Stars continue to play through the back half of the 2018-19 regular season, the reality of having a tough schedule and scoring droughts is quickly catching up with the team and serving as an issue for Jim Montgomery and Co.

Reality is tough—both in life and within the spectrum of professional sports—and the Dallas Stars are experiencing a difficult time of both what could be considered a harsh reality and a tough wake-up call.

Stars’ Head Coach Jim Montgomery was visibly frustrated after the Stars’ 1-3 loss on Saturday night, where they hosted the St. Louis Blues, the second-worst team in the Central Division.

"“It’s frustrating,” Montgomery said to Stars’ Senior Writer Mike Heika after the loss. “I’m very frustrated that I haven’t been able to gain consistency in our performance and I haven’t been able to change the culture of mediocrity.”"

And Monty couldn’t be more right about the team’s mediocrity over the past half-season.

As of Sunday night, Dallas is ranked as the 15th best team in the NHL out of the league’s 31 teams. According to statistics from Hockey Reference, their point total, 50, is the exact same of that of the NHL’s average.  Their 121 goals scored this season are 16 shy of the average, their goals allowed total is 15 lower than the average NHL team, their 25 power-play goals contribute to an average of 28, and their 21.55 percent power-play percentage is just a hair above the league average (20.03 percent).

"“I have done that approach of a timeout … and sometimes, you feel like that’s the appropriate message,” Monty told Heika. “Sometimes, you tell the captains. There have been some times, after a horrible period, where it’s their room. ‘You guys need to bring it forth.’ Unfortunately, there have been too many times where we have to think about how to motivate these guys. That’s a problem in and of itself that we have had to do that so many times this year already.”"

If this season is not a big enough sample size to convey the message, flashback to last season, where Dallas finished in 19th place in the league in points, 19th in goals for, 7th in goals against, 15th in plus/minus, and 19th in regulation plus overtime wins (ROW).

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For Jason Spezza, who has been with the team since  2014, things can’t be changed overnight.

"“It falls on the individuals,” Spezza said to Heika after Saturday night’s game. “It’s pro hockey—it’s not, ‘Rah rah, get everybody going.’ You have to zone in on yourself, you have to work on your own routines, you have to do what works best for you. And if it’s not working, you’ve got to change something.”"

So change something they must.

On Sunday, The Athletic writer Sean Shapiro posted a Twitter poll asking Stars fans what they thought the biggest issue causing the mediocrity was.

As of Sunday night, “GM/management” led the way with 57 percent of the vote, and “Players” followed with 32 percent.

Although fans may be right in thinking that some roster/front office changes would be a step in the right direction, making a several roster moves in the middle of the season when the team may already have some issues to deal with could be a catalyst for disaster in respect to the team’s chemistry. Take, for instance, the St. Louis Blues.

The Blues did a huge overhaul of their roster over the offseason. They traded Tage Thompson, Patrik Berglund, Vladimir Sobotka, and two draft picks to the Buffalo Sabres in exchange for center Ryan O’Reilly. They signed David Perron (for the third separate time in his career), stealing him in free agency from the Las Vegas Golden Knights, which whom Perron played for the year prior. They also signed Tyler Bozak to add to an already strong center core, among other signings.

Before the season started, I made a prediction that, because of the new additions, St. Louis would win the Central Division. Needless to say, I was dead wrong.

How did the roster changes work out for St. Louis?

They are the third worst team in the Western Conference.

Of course, they are only five points out of a playoff spot, and their season isn’t abysmal, but it is certainly less than ideal. But you get the point.

The same case could be made for the Stars. Making several roster moves could work out to become a blessing or a curse. Many teams make moves before the trade deadline, and I’d imagine that Jim Nill will stick his finger in the pie and get involved with some of the action. That said, making several moves and trading away numerous players right before a strong (and probably much needed) playoff push may not be the best solution for success.

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The Stars are simply just a cog in the “NHL machine,” and a mediocre one at that. However, with 46 games gone in an 82 game regular season, anything is possible, whether that means the season results in a boom or a bust.

What do you think, Stars fans? Will the Dallas Stars make trades to improve their roster or change their front office personnel? Let us know what you think the best course of action is for the Stars in the comments!

  • Published on 01/14/2019 at 18:01 PM
  • Last updated at 01/14/2019 at 07:43 AM