Things in the NHL change on a dime — every team is one signing away from success and one injury away from defeat. Although the Dallas Stars’ season ended a few weeks ago, their future is bright. However, a few things are still up in the air.
The Dallas Stars have a lot to be proud of from the 2018-19 campaign. They made it to the second round of the playoffs, went the distance with the St. Louis Blues before dropping on a double-OT goal against in Game 7, and proved a lot of doubters wrong in the process.
But the changes the team experienced were great, and what’s next is largely still up in the air in a few different ways.
The Stars were no strangers to losing players to injury this season. It seemed like when one guy returned to the lineup, another would fall victim to some physical ailment. This was particularly true on the defensive side of things. Marc Methot‘s health was in question for a good portion of the season, Stephen Johns didn’t step foot on the ice at all during the 2018-19 campaign, and Jamie Oleksiak‘s missed the entire second round of the postseason.
Not to mention players in the playoffs battling through injuries like Mattias Janmark and Roope Hintz. All in all, it was another injury-filled season for the Stars. Fortunately, they were able to overcome their obstacles and find a way to have a heck of a year regardless.
And the injury list goes on. But moving forward, the real question is who will be available? With no word on Johns’ condition, it seems unlikely that he’d just jump back in to NHL play without a hitch, especially considering he’s dealing with a head injury. But we just don’t know at this point.
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From the business side of things, there are a few big things up in the air. The first one to come to mind is what is going to happen with Mats Zuccarello. The forward was dominant in the postseason, especially following an unfortunate injury in his debut with the Stars, and Dallas could benefit greatly from him sticking around.
With him, though, the real question is whether he wants to stay in Big D or move on to a different team. If Jim Nill can find a way to keep Zuc around, though, it’d be a huge win for Dallas.
Another big free agent question mark is Roman Polak. The 33-year-old defender was a force in the defensive zone for the Stars, but also had some hiccups in his performance alongside rookie Miro Heiskanen. Even so, he was a bargain considering the cheap one-year deal that Dallas brought him in on. Will the Stars feel the need to bring him back?
Other contracts are a bit more straight forward for the Stars. They’ve already re-signed Esa Lindell this offseason, which further solidifies the blue line for Dallas. And it appears that Jason Spezza‘s time in Victory Green ended with the Stars’ elimination from the playoffs. Even if he does return, his salary will be a far cry from the $7.5 million he made last year.
In all honesty, the Dallas Stars are in as good of a place as any NHL team can be in the 2019 offseason. They have their core group of players under contract for a number of years, have some cap space to work with, and look to be well-prepared for year two under Jim Montgomery.
The only thing to do now is wait while the answers to some of the aforementioned questions are revealed.