It has been a storyline since before the season began, the Dallas Stars decimated by injuries. Looking back on the 2021 season, it is hard to find a team that dealt with a worse injury situation. The matter only worsened as the season went on with Dallas playing the most condensed schedule in the NHL.
The list of players that faced injury this season is an extensive one. A much shorter list is that of the ones who played in all 56 games. That list contains Joe Pavelski and Esa Lindell. Every other name on the roster dealt with an injury at some point in the season. The Stars also missed many of their key players for most of the season. A huge part of the Stars’ offseason is the recovery of their key players from injury.
The Dallas Stars need full injury recovery from key players this summer
The good news for the Stars is that each player is projected to be ready for training camp in September. Ben Bishop was originally expected to return in April after offseason knee surgery. He ended up missing the entire season due to complications in his recovery. Alexander Radulov underwent core surgery during the season and did not return, playing only 11 games all season.
Tyler Seguin played in only three games after his return was also delayed. Due to the condensed schedule, practice time was non-existent, costing players crucial time to get back to game speed. Seguin was not at 100 percent in his return but will be able to train at full speed this summer.
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Radek Faksa, similar to Seguin, was hindered by an injury that took place in the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs. A fractured wrist in the Stanley Cup Final did not heal as quickly as anticipated and he was not at his best during all of the 2021 season. This affected his strength on his stick while shooting and taking faceoffs.
Roope Hintz was in a category of his own in 2021. Early in the year, General Manager Jim Nill announced that Hintz had a lower-body injury that would most likely require surgery to repair. Rather than miss the entire season, Hintz decided to play through the injury, leaving him a game-time decision each and every night.
"“In a normal season, he probably wouldn’t be playing,” Stars coach Rick Bowness said. “We would’ve been able to get it fixed but we haven’t because of the shortened season. It shows you his commitment to the team that he’s playing through it. It’s what the Dallas Stars are all about. We play hard, we play for each other, we play for the team. We’re a family here. We’re all trying to help each other out. That shows his commitment to the family.”"
His groin surgery in May was successful and he should be at 100 percent next season. With the success that Hintz had this season, it is hard not to be excited about what he can accomplish at full health.
This list does not even mention all of the lesser-known or less severe injuries that took place all season. Every night, the organization faced a new injury and was forced to seemingly toss their line combinations in a blender.
"“We had numerous injuries just due to the schedule,” Jim Nill said. “I’ve never seen so many groin pulls and hamstring pulls you usually don’t see during the season, and a lot of that was because of the condensed schedule and the workload. I give our players [credit] for fighting through it.”"
This team faced adversity and letdowns all season long. They were constantly on the edge of something great, only to fall short in the end. Coming into the first full season in two years, it is imperative that the Stars begin the season with the full arsenal. Not only is it important for all players to begin the season and find their groove, but it is important for the players’ mental state as well.
"“It’s a huge season for the whole organization,” Seguin said. “We all bought into this group, we all love each other, and we have a real tight group. And if you sat down with a pen and a piece of paper and tried to write down all of the things we’ve been through the past two years, it would be quite the list. We all know how important this next year is. Today, we’re still disappointed, but we have high expectations of ourselves, and we’re going to have high expectations next year and we’re going to do everything we can to fulfill them.”"
Although the season ended in disappointment, it is likely that Dallas will have high expectations for the 2021-2022 season.