Razor With an Edge: The Same, But Different

Monday, 02.3.2014 / 1:10 PM CT / Razor With An Edge
By Daryl "Razor" Reaugh
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Razor With an Edge: The Same, But Different
Here we are again; twenty-seven games to play. Four points out of a playoff spot. Tied with a couple other clubs in points.

Here we are again; twenty-seven games to play. Four points out of a playoff spot. Tied with a couple other clubs in points. A team or two to hurdle to get there. Yada, yada, yada.

Yet somehow this feels different than the previous five seasons.

Maybe it's because the 2013-14 team's propulsion isn't fueled by an aging forward or two on mercenary pit stops in Texas, or that its main avenue to victory doesn't seem to rest solely on a stellar night of saves from a goalie.

Instead, this Stars rebuild 6.0 is being constructed with a core of forwards who are still half a decade from reaching their prime. And it's a team that outplays its opponent on a lot of nights - doesn't always win when it does so (0-4-3 when registering 40 or more shots) but you get the feeling this style will be rewarded on a grander scale when more pieces are added or existing ones are improved.

I'd categorize Stars 2014 Inc. as a growth stock (insider trading be damned), one with a fair measure of volatility - so take your Dramamine, but also with great potential for a champagne-cork payoff down the road.

When at their best these Stars are one of the most watchable teams in the league - full of speed, playmaking and gasconade. When they are off a little...sure, they are a little maddening - but mostly in a puppy who peed on the carpet kinda way.

They win with a puck possession, attack-oriented system played under a steady-handed and passionate veteran coach.

They lose when their intermittent defensive fallibility gets exposed. Or when the refs screw them (that second one is for you hard core conspiracy souls).

As good as things are at times, or are trending toward, to me they have three big needs:

A #2 Center: Seguin is a stud #1 that is only gonna get better. Eakin is a perfect #3. A guy who can check the other team's top guys, kill penalties, and be a balance tipper in big games. But that leaves a void in the two-hole. Here you need a second wave of attack, another guy for teams to have to check - a Joe Nieuwendyk.

A 2nd Line Left Winger: Jamie is #1 but it falls off dramatically after him. Yes, for you 'can't let go of old boyfriend' types, James Neal would in fact be a nice fit in that spot.

A sizable 25-28 minute all-purpose defenseman: I don't know that the Stars can get to that next level without finding or developing one of these. Boston did it by ponying up for Chara as a free agent, Chicago drafted and groomed Seabrook and Keith, St. Louis brought Pietrangelo along and acquired Bouwmeester, the Kings drafted Drew Doughty, Minnesota paid for Suter, and so on. Here's some fantasy intellectual-tampering, wouldn't Shea Weber look dapper draped in Victory Green on the Stars blueline?

So anyway, in their current state of construct the Stars are no doubt imperfect - a combination of yeasty youth and showin'-some-mold veterans. Therefore, until the roster fully fleshes out and the prospects mature, they will continue to vacillate, tease, exhilarate, disappoint, titillate, fascinate, and frustrate.

Will they be good enough to earn a playoff spot in the wicked West? We'll see. A daunting March schedule awaits, and their current 88 point pace won't get ‘em in.

But be that as it may, they sure seem to be on an entertaining trajectory toward excellence.




1 x - ANA 78 49 22 7 227 216 105
2 x - NSH 77 47 22 8 220 188 102
3 STL 76 46 23 7 229 190 99
4 CHI 76 46 24 6 217 176 98
5 MIN 76 44 25 7 219 186 95
6 VAN 76 44 27 5 219 204 93
7 CGY 77 42 28 7 229 204 91
8 WPG 76 39 25 12 215 201 90
9 LAK 76 37 25 14 201 192 88
10 DAL 77 37 30 10 239 248 84
11 SJS 76 37 30 9 212 215 83
12 COL 76 35 29 12 206 213 82
13 EDM 76 23 40 13 185 255 59
14 ARI 77 23 46 8 161 256 54


J. Benn 77 28 46 -6 74
T. Seguin 67 35 35 -4 70
J. Spezza 77 17 42 -3 59
J. Klingberg 60 11 27 3 38
C. Eakin 73 17 19 -5 36
T. Daley 63 16 20 -10 36
A. Goligoski 77 4 31 -2 35
A. Hemsky 71 11 21 -5 32
S. Horcoff 73 11 17 7 28
V. Fiddler 75 12 15 -5 27
K. Lehtonen 34 16 10 .906 2.88
J. Enroth 14 26 2 .900 3.25

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