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31 in 31

Dallas Stars key statistics

Balanced scoring needed; goaltending at 5-on-5 improved last season

by Rob Vollman / NHL.com Correspondent

NHL.com is providing in-depth analysis for each of its 31 teams throughout August. Today, three key statistics for the Dallas Stars.

 

[Stars 31 IN 31: Season preview | 3 Questions | Top prospects | Fantasy breakdown]

 

1. Regaining lost scoring

After leading the NHL with a total of 522 goals in 2014-15 and 2015-16, the Stars' offensive production dipped over the past two seasons to 453 total goals, which ranked 17th.

The Stars were top-heavy in production last season, with 296 of their 608 combined points, an NHL-high 48.7 percent, coming from defenseman John Klingberg and forwards Jamie Benn, Tyler Seguin and Alexander Radulov. But a comeback season from Jason Spezza could help balance out the scoring. The 35-year-old forward went from a previous NHL career average of 0.95 points per game and a shooting percentage of 13.4 percent to 0.33 points per game and a shooting percentage of 5.8 percent in 2017-18.

Adding more rookies to the lineup is another way to boost the scoring. In 2017-18, the Stars were the only team in the NHL not to receive a single point from a player 21 years old or under, but with players such as defenseman Miro Heiskanen, 19, and forward Roope Hintz, 21, projected to break into the lineup, that should change.

Video: 31 in 31: Dallas Stars 2018-19 season preview

 

2. History of success

The Stars hired Jim Montgomery as coach May 4.

Montgomery was 118-45-21 and won the Clark Cup twice (2011, 2013) during three seasons with Dubuque of the United States Hockey League. He then guided the University of Denver to the NCAA Division I championship in 2017, when he won the Spencer Penrose Award as Division I men's hockey coach of the year.

Montgomery went 125-57-26 in five seasons at Denver.

 

3. Fewer goals-against

After allowing 260 goals in 2016-17, second most in the NHL, better than only the Colorado Avalanche (276), the Stars allowed 222 last season, tied with the St. Louis Blues for sixth fewest in the NHL.

One reason for that improvement was goalie Ben Bishop, who was acquired in a trade from the Los Angeles Kings on May 9, 2017. In his first season in Dallas, the 31-year-old went 26-17-5 with a 2.49 goals-against average and .916 save percentage.

The Stars' 5-on-5 save percentage increased from .919 in 2016-17 (23rd in the NHL) to .927, which ranked 10th and was their highest since the statistic started being kept in 2009-10.

Despite improving by 13 points in the standings from 2016-17 to 2017-18, Dallas missed the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the second straight season. One step the Stars could take this season to get into the playoffs is improving their defense while on the power play. The Stars are the only NHL team to allow at least 10 shorthanded goals in each of the past three seasons, and they have allowed an NHL-high 36 in that span.

Video: DAL@OTT: Bishop turns away Pageau in front

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