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Team Reset

Stars hope Pavelski, Perry are missing pieces to Stanley Cup title

Forwards signed in offseason add depth to talented roster

by Adam Kimelman @NHLAdamK / NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

After the NHL Draft, free agency and other offseason moves, NHL.com is taking a look at where each team stands. Today, the Dallas Stars:

The Dallas Stars hope forwards Joe Pavelski and Corey Perry are the missing ingredients to help them win the Stanley Cup after coming within one goal of reaching the Western Conference Final last season.

Pavelski (three-year contract) and Perry (one-year contract) signed with the Stars as free agents July 1. Each has multiple seasons with at least 30 goals (Perry, six; Pavelski, five), and each has played in the Stanley Cup Final, Perry winning the Cup with the Anaheim Ducks against the Ottawa Senators in 2007 and Pavelski losing with the San Jose Sharks in six games to the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2016.

 

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Combined with veteran forwards Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin, plus a dynamic group of defensemen led by John Klingberg, Esa Lindell and Miro Heiskanen, the excitement in Dallas is rising.

"What I like is the mix of the youth and the experience we have now," general manager Jim Nill said. "We're adding some great leaders and guys that know how to win to the core. You mix that in with some of the young kids, and I think it can be a pretty dynamic team that way."

Pavelski left San Jose after 13 seasons because Dallas offered the 35-year-old two things he wanted: a third season on a contract and a chance to win the Stanley Cup.

Video: Hradek breaks down Stars' free agent signings

"There were definitely some boxes that we wanted checked off," he said. "We wanted to feel that the team was close to winning. And playing against the Stars, playing against some of their players, and the season they had, they were a team that checked … a lot of the boxes."

Perry, who had the final two seasons of his eight-year contract bought out June 19 after 14 seasons with the Ducks, viewed the Stars in a similar way.

"I'm looking to win another Stanley Cup, that's my biggest goal and that's why I chose Dallas," the 34-year-old said. "They have everything that I want in a hockey team. They're on the verge of putting something really great together and I want to be a part of that."

Perry (372 NHL goals) and Pavelski (355) will add depth behind one of the most dynamic top lines in the NHL, with Seguin at center between Benn and Alexander Radulov. Seguin (80 points; 33 goals, 47 assists), Radulov (72 points; 29 goals, 43 assists) and Benn (53 points; 27 goals, 26 assists) were the top three among Stars forwards in points last season. The next highest-scoring forward was Radek Faksa, who had 30 points (15 goals, 15 assists).   

"When you can add major scorers, that's a big addition," Nill said. "It's no secret that you're always trying to add scoring."

The Stars are positive they've done enough to build on last season, when they were eliminated by the St. Louis Blues in the second overtime of Game 7 in the second round.

"Our team is trending up, and that's a good sign," Nill said.

Here is what the Stars look like today:

Video: Stars add veteran depth with acquisition of Perry

 

Key arrivals

Joe Pavelski, F: He led the Sharks with 38 goals last season and has scored at least 61 points in each of the past eight full NHL seasons. … Corey Perry, F: He missed the first four months of last season recovering from knee surgery and had 10 points (six goals, four assists) in 31 games. … Andrej Sekera, D: The 33-year-old signed a one-year contract July 1 after the Edmonton Oilers bought out the final two seasons of his six-year contract June 30. Sekera was limited to a total of 60 games the past two seasons because of injuries, but he adds veteran experience. Dallas' top three defensemen in ice time during the playoffs were Klingberg, 26, Lindell, 25, and Heiskanen, 19.

 

Key departures

Mats Zuccarello, F: He broke his arm in his second game after being acquired in a trade from the New York Rangers on Feb. 23 but had 11 points (four goals, seven assists) in 13 playoff games. Zuccarello, who turns 32 on Sept. 1, signed a five-year contract with the Minnesota Wild on July 1. … Tyler Pitlick, F: The 27-year-old was traded to the Philadelphia Flyers on June 24 for forward Ryan Hartman, who was not given a qualifying offer and signed a two-year contract with the Wild. Pitlick had 12 points (eight goals, four assists) in 47 games last season. … Brett Ritchie, F: The 26-year-old signed a one-year contract with the Boston Bruins on July 1. He had six points (four goals, two assists) in 53 games last season. … Valeri Nichushkin, F: The 24-year-old had the final season of his two-year contract bought out June 30. He had 10 assists in 57 games last season. … Jason Spezza, F: The 36-year-old signed a one-year contract with the Toronto Maple Leafs on July 1. He had 27 points (eight goals, 19 assists) in 76 games last season.

 

On the cusp

Ty Dellandrea, F: The No. 13 pick in the 2018 NHL Draft, Dellandrea, who turns 19 on July 21, led Flint of the Ontario Hockey League with 63 points (22 goals, 41 assists) last season and could push for a top-nine forward spot. … Denis Gurianov, F: The 22-year-old could be ready for full-time NHL duty after he had four points (one goal, three assists) in 21 games with Dallas last season. The No. 12 pick in the 2015 NHL Draft had 48 points (20 goals, 28 assists) in 57 games with Texas of the American Hockey League.

 

What they still need

Consistent depth scoring. The Stars need offense from more than the top line. Pavelski and Perry were brought in to supply that, but more will be needed from their other forwards, including Jason Dickinson (six goals in 67 games last season) and Roope Hintz (nine goals in 58 games).

 

Fantasy focus 

The addition of a versatile forward like Pavelski could have the biggest impact on Benn, who's coming off the lowest point total (53) in a full season since he was a rookie in 2009-10 (41). If Dallas puts its top-four forwards on separate lines, Benn could play with Pavelski at even strength in addition to being with elite skaters Seguin, Radulov and Klingberg on a loaded first-unit power play. That would likely mean Benn bounces back to score at least 35 goals and 70 points, on top of his valuable hits coverage (1.7 per game in NHL career). -- Pete Jensen

 

Projected lineup

Jamie Benn -- Tyler Seguin -- Alexander Radulov

Jason Dickinson -- Roope Hintz -- Joe Pavelski

Andrew Cogliano -- Radek Faksa -- Corey Perry

Mattias Janmark -- Ty Dellandrea -- Blake Comeau

Esa Lindell -- John Klingberg

Miro Heiskanen -- Stephen Johns

Andrej Sekera -- Roman Polak

Ben Bishop

Anton Khudobin

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