After five games the Dallas Stars sit 2-3-0 on the season, good for 7th place in the Central Division. In this highly competitive division, the Stars already trail every other team; yet have looked on par with some of those near the top of the standings.
It has been touched upon that the Stars have dominated analytics of the game, close to the league lead shots per game, and allowing near the lowest per game. They also have five players all over fifty percent on the year in the faceoff circle so they are controlling possession a ton, dominating games, yet the record indicates otherwise.
This is because of a lack of depth scoring to start the season. The new system under Ken Hitchcock means the Stars aren’t as free flowing offensively as they once were and the defensive aspects of the game come first for the roster. The scoring they have received has only come from top end players like John Klingberg, Tyler Seguin and Jamie Benn, and that is just not good enough. Five on five the Stars can’t seem to produce anything or put away games when they do. Holding onto a one or two goal lead for more than half a game is a difficult task, so when they control play the Stars need to cash in to put the game out of reach.
Just eleven of the twenty players who have played a game have produced a single point, through five games that is very lackluster.
Another issue is the inability to adapt to the new crackdown rule changes that have led to a substantial number of penalties taken per game. This kills the Stars dominating momentum and keeps the depth players off the ice, not allowing them opportunities to produce. The penalty kill does look vastly improved from the monstrosity that was last seasons, but the team needs to refrain on the penalties before they cost any more important games.
Dallas has a chance to bounce back this week, they face a home and home with the winless Arizona Coyotes, then host the one win Carolina Hurricanes.
Dallas is yet to find the injury bug this season, and has a favorable schedule to bounce back toward the top of the Central Division standings. With a faster start for every other team in the division they can’t afford to drop games they should be winning or the mountain they face will be too steep to overcome.