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Dallas Stars fantasy hockey outlook

Wednesday, 08.12.2015 / 3:00 AM / Fantasy Hockey Draft Rankings, Advice and Analysis

Matt Cubeta - Fantasy Insider

As part of's offseason 30 in 30 package, fantasy hockey insiders Matt Cubeta and Pete Jensen will break down each team's fantasy landscape. They will look at the players at the top of the ranks, an undervalued player, an overvalued player, a deep sleeper (players likely ranked outside the top 200 overall players) and the goalie outlook for each NHL team.

Leading the way: Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin

Not only did Benn lead the NHL in scoring last season with 87 points, he ended up as the sixth-best fantasy player in Yahoo leagues. Seguin finished 13th among all players but easily would have been higher had he not missed 11 games with injury. Going into this season, I have Benn ranked fourth among all players and Seguin at No. 7. Each is an elite player. The only reason I give Benn the edge is because of his ability to chip in with penalty minutes (he's averaged 62 PIMs per 82-game season during his career). Benn is arguably the most complete player in fantasy hockey, capable of posting 30-40 goals and 80 points with strong peripheral stats. If his plus-1 rating from last season improved a little bit, he could be the No. 1 fantasy player.

Seguin was well on his way to being one of the top-ranked fantasy players last season before his injury, but even with the missed time he still finished tied for fifth in the NHL with 37 goals and was seventh in points with 77. As we all know, goals are hard to come by, and Seguin is as good as a bet as anyone to score 40-50 times in 2015-16. With the addition of Patrick Sharp and the return of Valeri Nichushkin, the Stars' offense should be primed for a monster season, with Benn and Seguin at the center of things. Make sure both players are selected in the first round of your draft.

Honka, Gurianov among Stars' top five prospects

Wednesday, 08.12.2015 / 3:00 AM /'s 30 in 30 package: 2015-16

Sean McCullen - Staff Writer

The Dallas Stars had four defensemen 23 or younger play significant minutes last season, including 22-year-old John Klingberg, who was fifth in Calder Trophy voting after he scored 11 goals with 29 assists in 65 games.

Klingberg, Jamie Oleksiak, 22, and Patrik Nemeth and Jyrki Jokipakka, each 23, played a total of 174 games.

Three of the Stars' top prospects are defensemen, and a handful of others could be playing in the NHL soon.

"On the back end, we've got lots of depth," general manager Jim Nill said.

Here are the Stars' top five prospects, according to

Arrival of Sharp, Oduya, Niemi gives Stars optimism

Wednesday, 08.12.2015 / 3:00 AM /'s 30 in 30 package: 2015-16

Sean McCullen - Staff Writer

The Dallas Stars appear primed to return to the Stanley Cup Playoffs after an offseason when they added three players who've won the Cup with the Chicago Blackhawks.

The Stars got off to a slow start last season -- they were 9-10-5 through November -- and finished seven points behind the Winnipeg Jets for the second wild card into the playoffs from the Western Conference.

It was a disappointing step back for Dallas, which made the playoffs for the first time in six seasons in 2014.

"We need to make the playoffs," general manager Jim Nill said. "We need to be a consistent team. The idea is to make the playoffs every year, so that's our goal."

Here are four reasons for the Stars to be optimistic:

Oduya, Niemi among key questions for Stars

Wednesday, 08.12.2015 / 3:00 AM /'s 30 in 30 package: 2015-16

Sean McCullen - Staff Writer

The Dallas Stars are confident they did enough this offseason to return to the Stanley Cup Playoffs after missing them last season.

The Stars were second in the NHL in goals (3.13 per game) in 2014-15 but finished tied for 26th in goals allowed (3.13 per game).

"We know we can score goals," general manager Jim Nill said, "but it's still going to come down to how we play away from the puck that's going to be the biggest thing."

Here are three questions facing the Stars entering this season:

Stars trying to upgrade defense to match offense

Wednesday, 08.12.2015 / 3:00 AM /'s 30 in 30 package: 2015-16

Sean McCullen - Staff Writer continues its preview of the 2015-16 season, which will include in-depth looks at all 30 teams throughout August.

The Dallas Stars were busy this offseason not only trying to assure they get back to the Stanley Cup Playoffs but looking to build a perennial contender.

Forward Patrick Sharp, acquired in a July 10 trade with the Chicago Blackhawks, and defenseman Johnny Oduya, signed as a free agent July 15, bring a winning pedigree to Dallas that could help the young Stars reach the top of the Western Conference this season and for years to come.

"We're excited and we know we're going to be good offensively," general manager Jim Nill said. "Our biggest thing is going to be playing the game the right way both ways, and we're going to do that."

Flyers' Giroux glad linemate Voracek got big contract

Tuesday, 08.11.2015 / 10:53 PM / NHL Insider

Sean McCullen - Staff Writer

Philadelphia Flyers captain Claude Giroux is glad to know he could play on the same line with Jakub Voracek for at least the next seven seasons.

Voracek signed a multiyear contract extension with the Flyers on July 30. TSN reported it is for eight years, $66 million.

"I'm really happy for him, and it's really good for our team," said Giroux, who is entering the second season of his eight-year, $66.2 million contract. "I think we have some room for improvement to get even better chemistry, but I think we've been doing a good job of finding each other and communicating on and off the ice to know how we want to play.

"Jake just cares so much that every time he comes to the rink he wants to win, and he's really fun to be around."

Healthy Dupuis, Letang sure to give Penguins lift

Tuesday, 08.11.2015 / 7:57 PM / NHL Insider

Arpon Basu - Managing Editor

TERREBONNE, Quebec -- The Pittsburgh Penguins have had an offseason packed with roster changes, but the best personnel news might be the return to full health for two of their longest tenured players.

Forward Pascal Dupuis and defenseman Kris Letang each said Tuesday he is 100 percent and eager for training camp to start.

Dupuis missed the final 66 games last season with a blood clot in his lung, and Letang missed the final seven games and the five-game loss to the New York Rangers in the Eastern Conference First Round with a concussion.

"I'm in great shape," Letang said at a charity golf tournament hosted by Montreal Canadiens coach Michel Therrien. "I got on the ice last week, so I'm following the same program I follow every summer. There was no delay in that sense.

"I'd say it's been one of my best summers in terms of training and how I feel."

Therrien sees Semin as 'nice challenge' for Canadiens

Tuesday, 08.11.2015 / 4:30 PM / NHL Insider

Arpon Basu - Managing Editor

TERREBONNE, Quebec -- When the Montreal Canadiens signed free agent forward Alexander Semin to a one-year contract last month, one of the first questions that jumped to mind was how would he mesh with coach Michel Therrien.

The Carolina Hurricanes bought out the final three years of Semin's five-year, $35 million contract because, as general manager Ron Francis said, they did not feel he competed enough on a consistent basis.

Therrien is known as a coach with high demands on his players in terms of work ethic, and he said Tuesday at his charity golf tournament he's eager to start working on making sure Semin is able to meet those demands.

"It's a nice challenge, that's how I look at it," Therrien said. "He's a guy that's full of potential, and there's an opportunity for him to get back to where we think he can be as a player, and where I imagine he also thinks he can be as a player. We're going to give him an opportunity, and it's the type of player we were missing when you looked at our team. He's a guy who can score, who can make plays and who's shown in the past that he can contribute to the success of a team offensively. But as far as I'm concerned, I see it as a challenge."

Offense, aging veterans key questions for Panthers

Tuesday, 08.11.2015 / 3:00 AM /'s 30 in 30 package: 2015-16

Alain Poupart - Correspondent

SUNRISE, Fla. -- Although a 25-point improvement in 2014-15 was the best in the NHL, the Florida Panthers missed the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the 13th time in 14 seasons.

The only time in that span they qualified for the postseason was in 2011-12, when the Panthers won the Southeast Division title after a big spending spree in the free agent market. The approach this season is to rely on a young nucleus and hope the maturation process has reached fruition.

Here are three important questions that will determine if the Panthers return to the playoffs:

Panthers pinning their future on young talent

Tuesday, 08.11.2015 / 3:00 AM /'s 30 in 30 package: 2015-16

Alain Poupart - Correspondent continues its preview of the 2015-16 season, which will include in-depth looks at all 30 teams throughout August.

SUNRISE, Fla. -- The Florida Panthers made the biggest improvement in the NHL last season and are counting on their young players to continue that progress.

The Panthers that will open training camp in September will be almost the same team that closed 2014-15 with 91 points, an NHL-best 25-point increase from the previous season. The only veteran addition of note during the offseason was forward Reilly Smith, who came from the Boston Bruins in a trade along with the contract of injured center Marc Savard for forward Jimmy Hayes.

The Panthers stayed very quiet during free agency; the five players they signed each received a two-way contract.

It was quite a contrast from the previous summer, when on July 1 the Panthers signed five established veterans who figure to play prominent roles again this season: Dave Bolland, Jussi Jokinen, Shawn Thornton, Willie Mitchell and Derek MacKenzie.

This summer turned out to be more about clearing roster space for the young players. Florida made no effort to re-sign its veteran free agents, forwards Scottie Upshall and Tomas Kopecky, and goalie Dan Ellis. They released forward Brad Boyes, who led the Panthers with 21 goals in 2013-14.

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Quote of the Day

That's today's game. That's one of the things you have to deal with when you're a championship team. Guys are going to earn more money based on their performance and what they've achieved, [and] deservedly so. [Saad] falls into that category.

— Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville on Brandon Saad, who was traded by Chicago to the Columbus Blue Jackets this offseason