If there were an "offseason champions" banner passed out every season, the 2014 edition might belong to the Dallas Stars.
A couple of other teams, perhaps most notably the New York Islanders, could stake a claim to this fictitious honor as well, but the Stars became a media darling in short order when general manager Jim Nill traded for Jason Spezza, signed Ales Hemsky and retained Vernon Fiddler.
The Stars had a tremendous offseason in 2013 as well, first landing Nill and coach Lindy Ruff, and then adding Tyler Seguin, Rich Peverley, Valeri Nichushkin and Shawn Horcoff. Dallas has gone from mediocre to playoff team to potential Stanley Cup contender in two summers, and did it without needing a full-blown "rebuilding" phase.
Expectations are going to be higher in Dallas in 2014-15, but the talent level is as well. The Stars will be one of the most fascinating teams to monitor in the forthcoming campaign.
Here's a look at the projected 2014-15 lineup for the Stars: