In the 2009-2010 season, the Chicago Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup. The creation of that team parallels the creation of this season’s Dallas Stars. The Blackhawks hired a new GM, Stan Bowman, son of infamous GM Scotty Bowman. Bowman and Quenneville promptly remade the makeup of the players of the team. They identified two young players that would be the core and face of the team, Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane. One would eventually become captain while the other matured as a person. Kane, like Seguin, created some news off the ice. They secured Hossa, Madden and Kopecky while introducing a preponderance of young, talented hockey players. The average age was roughly 26 with roughly an average of 4 years of experience. To complement this team makeup, Quenneville put in place a philosophy of play that was articulated in an interview article written by Dan Rosen on October 9, 2012 see Five Questions: Coach Q on coaching ups and downs. In the article, Quenneville talked of being sensitive to the way the game is being played today, playing an up-tempo game, attacking but knowing when to be patient. If you watch the Blackhawks then and now they are always hungry for the puck. They want to possess it always. Similarly, Ruff stresses the importance of the high-tempo game and strong puck possession numbers. One successful game this season was the game against the Winnipeg Jets where the Stars showed their vision of their new identity. Of course, the season is young and the competition will get tougher.
Jim Nill and Lindy Ruff are very familiar with the Chicago Blackhawks and how the Blackhawks have maintained a strong team since the 2009-2010. They talk of building a team with effective drafting while keeping high-potential rookies, Chiasson and Nichuskin, on the parent team roster. They have been careful to acquire or keep a select number of seasoned veterans who will provide important leadership and skill i.e. Whitney, Horcoff, Cole, Peverley and Gonchar. Gonchar and Whitney are a major factor in the Star’s average age of 28 and years of experience being 6 years. Excluding them, the average age is roughly 27 and the years of experience is 5 years, not too different from the Blackhawks in 2009-2010. It will not be surprising if the Stars are younger by the end of the season even though at this time they are older than the Blackhawks were in the 2009-2010 season.
The last and most important comparison is the comparison of the Toews/Kane pair and the Benn/Seguin pair. Toews and Kane have had 12 player-seasons and produced 480 points or 40 points a player-season. Benn and Seguin have had 7 player-seasons and produced 314 points or 44.7 points a player-season although with different teams. All of this should breed optimism for the Dallas Stars fans because it could mean that progress is being made in righting the ship with a real objective to contend for the Cup in the years to come.