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(Page 11 of 15)'s 30 in 30 package: 2013-14

30 in 30: Gonchar's arrival X-factor for Stars

Saturday, 08.10.2013 / 3:00 AM /'s 30 in 30 package: 2013-14

Tal Pinchevsky - Staff Writer

In a busy offseason marked by wholesale changes on and off the ice, it's easy to forget the move that kicked off the summer free-agency season in earnest.

About a month before the start of free agency, the Dallas Stars acquired the rights to veteran defenseman Sergei Gonchar from the Ottawa Senators in exchange for a conditional sixth-round draft pick. Three days later, the Stars announced they signed the Russian to a two-year contract.

More moves would follow, most notably the trade that brought centers Tyler Seguin and Rich Peverley to Dallas from the Boston Bruins. But it's Gonchar who potentially could have the greatest influence this season on a young Stars team.

30 in 30: Seguin in middle among questions for Stars

Saturday, 08.10.2013 / 3:00 AM /'s 30 in 30 package: 2013-14

Tal Pinchevsky - Staff Writer

For a team that underwent massive reconstruction in the wake of a fifth straight season out of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, it's fair to say there are more than six questions the Dallas Stars will need to answer coming into the season. But following some major additions to their roster and an overhaul of the front office and coaching staff, Dallas will be an intriguing team to watch entering the 2013-14 NHL season.

It starts with the hiring of Jim Nill as general manager and Lindy Ruff as coach. Each enjoyed successful stretches with the Detroit Red Wings and Buffalo Sabres, respectively, and are among the most-respected men in the game. They'll likely have to harness all their expertise to lead a team that is very different from the one that finished 2012-13 seven points out of a Stanley Cup Playoff spot.

Despite the changes, Dallas will have stability where it counts. Jamie Benn, easily the team's best all-round forward, will be expected to take the next step toward becoming a franchise player, and goaltender Kari Lehtonen again will be expected to carry the defense as far as he can.

Other than that, there will be plenty of questions surrounding an intriguing Stars team. Here are six of them:

30 in 30: Future is now for Stars prospects

Saturday, 08.10.2013 / 3:00 AM /'s 30 in 30 package: 2013-14

Tal Pinchevsky - Staff Writer

When it became more and more apparent late last season that the Dallas Stars were going to miss the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the fifth straight year, the team began unloading most of its veteran talent.

They've since traded most of their marquee veterans, most notably Loui Eriksson, Jaromir Jagr, Brenden Morrow and Derek Roy, in favor of turning over the team to a farm system that has been building up nicely over the past few years.

With most of that veteran talent still unaccounted for, the Dallas prospect pool will be leaned on heavily to get this team back to the postseason. So expect a number of these names to make an impact.

Here's a look at Dallas' top 10 prospects, according to

30 in 30: New-look Stars hope change does them good

Saturday, 08.10.2013 / 3:00 AM /'s 30 in 30 package: 2013-14

Tal Pinchevsky - Staff Writer

In the past two years the Dallas Stars have seen an ownership change, two coaching changes and one general manager replaced. It's a lot of movement for a team that hasn't made the Stanley Cup Playoffs since 2008.

Owner Tom Gaglardi looked to establish some franchise stability when he named Jim Nill general manager in April. Nill was a fixture in the Detroit Red Wings' front office for nearly two decades, playing a prominent role on a team that won the Stanley Cup four times during his tenure.

In one of his first moves as GM, Nill provided more stability when he named Lindy Ruff the Stars' coach. Like Nill, Ruff had been a picture of consistency throughout his career, coaching the Buffalo Sabres for 15 seasons after spending a decade in Buffalo as a player.

"You look at any good team and stability is the key. That was a big part of our system in Detroit, I know in Buffalo it was the same way," Nill told "Tom Gaglardi has given the green light for Lindy and I to come in and put that stamp on the team. Whatever business you're in, stability is the key."

30 in 30: Stars have remade lineup down middle

Saturday, 08.10.2013 / 3:00 AM /'s 30 in 30 package: 2013-14

Corey Masisak - Staff Writer

The Dallas Stars were probably in need of an overhaul after a fifth straight season without a Stanley Cup Playoff berth, and it is fair to say there has been one.

Dallas has a new general manager, Jim Nill, a new coach, Lindy Ruff, and as many as three new centers on the roster. It is possible the only member of the Stars' top-six forwards on opening night who was on the roster before the start of last season is Jamie Benn, who likely is going to be switching positions.

Jaromir Jagr, Derek Roy and Brenden Morrow were traded before the deadline last season. Loui Eriksson was part of the package sent to the Boston Bruins in one of the biggest trades of the offseason. Who joins holdovers Benn and Ray Whitney on the top two lines?

30 in 30: Young talent, Roy lead Colorado revival

Friday, 08.09.2013 / 3:00 AM /'s 30 in 30 package: 2013-14

Brian Hunter - Staff Writer

Out with the old, in with the new.

Since the end of the 2012-13 NHL season, the Colorado Avalanche fired their coach, Joe Sacco, and replaced him with their former goaltender, Hockey Hall of Fame member Patrick Roy.

They said goodbye to one of the top offensive players in team history, veteran Milan Hejduk, and chose 18-year-old Nathan MacKinnon with the No. 1 pick in the 2013 NHL Draft, adding him to an exciting young nucleus of Matt Duchene, Gabriel Landeskog and Ryan O'Reilly.

And they bid farewell to the Calgary Flames, Edmonton Oilers and Vancouver Canucks as division rivals, moving into the realigned Central Division where they will have to battle the Chicago Blackhawks and St. Louis Blues.

30 in 30: Goal prevention top question for Avalanche

Friday, 08.09.2013 / 3:00 AM /'s 30 in 30 package: 2013-14

Brian Hunter - Staff Writer

Right off the bat, first-year Colorado Avalanche coach Patrick Roy erased any mystery about how No. 1 pick Nathan MacKinnon would be used when he announced shortly after the team selected the Halifax Mooseheads center at the NHL Draft on June 30 that MacKinnon will center Jamie McGinn and Steve Downie on the third line.

In fact, Roy has his top two lines set as well. He told the Denver Post that Matt Duchene will center Ryan O'Reilly and PA Parenteau on one unit with Paul Stastny between Gabriel Landeskog and Alex Tanguay on the other.

That doesn't mean there still aren't plenty of questions surrounding the Avalanche, who finished last in the Western Conference in 2012-13 and have a new coach, a handful of new division rivals, and a potential second Calder Trophy winner in three seasons in their lineup.

Here are six of Colorado's pressing questions:

30 in 30: Roy behind bench is Avalanche X-factor

Friday, 08.09.2013 / 3:00 AM /'s 30 in 30 package: 2013-14

Brian Hunter - Staff Writer

It's fair to say the Colorado Avalanche have not been remotely the same organization since Patrick Roy announced his retirement as a player following the 2002-03 season.

The all-time NHL leader in wins by a goaltender when he hung up the skates, Roy powered the Avalanche to two Stanley Cup titles in their first six seasons in Denver, as well as eight straight division titles.

Colorado hasn't won the Northwest Division since Roy's final season, and a fourth-place finish in the Western Conference in 2003-04 is the only time since then the Avalanche placed higher than seventh. Of even greater concern, the franchise has missed the Stanley Cup Playoffs in five of the past seven seasons, including three times coming in last or next-to-last.

30 in 30: MacKinnon tops Avalanche prospect list

Friday, 08.09.2013 / 3:00 AM /'s 30 in 30 package: 2013-14

Brian Hunter - Staff Writer

There isn't a great deal to smile about when an organization goes through tough times the way the Colorado Avalanche have during the past five seasons.

One of the bright spots, though, is high draft picks. The Avalanche have certainly had their fair share, and many of their selections are already making key contributions, Matt Duchene, the No. 3 pick in 2009, and Gabriel Landeskog, the No. 2 pick in 2011, chief among them.

Now, buoyed by the No. 1 pick in the 2013 NHL Draft, which the club used to select center Nathan MacKinnon, there are a host of Colorado prospects knocking on the door of NHL careers, in addition to those who are several years down the road from arriving.

Here's a look at Colorado's 10 top prospects, according to

30 in 30: Avalanche lineup loaded with scoring

Friday, 08.09.2013 / 3:00 AM /'s 30 in 30 package: 2013-14

Corey Masisak - Staff Writer

From 1996 to 2006 the Colorado Avalanche were one of the NHL's model franchises, but recently that has not been the case.

After another disappointing season in 2012-13 there was a serious overhaul, even if there weren't a lot of notable changes in the dressing room. Former captain Milan Hejduk was not retained, but he was slipping to the fringes of the roster after being a key cog for years. One player who was around for Hejduk's prime, forward Alex Tanguay, is back after a trade with the Calgary Flames.

The biggest addition on the ice will be center Nathan MacKinnon, and the No. 1 pick in the 2013 NHL Draft probably won't need long to work his way into an important role. The biggest move of the offseason was hiring Hall of Fame goaltender Patrick Roy to be the coach, and he's already stated he wants to start MacKinnon on the third line and let him earn his way up the lineup.

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