The Stars hit the All-Star Break ranked fifth in points percentage (.673) at 30-13-6 and in a fierce battle for positioning in the Central Division with Winnipeg and Colorado. With a pretty healthy sprint over the final 33 games once they get back, there still is much to be determined about this season.

Can the scoring (third best in the NHL) continue or even get better?

Can the defense and goaltending (14th in the league at 3.06 goals per game) find a way to stabilize a bit?

Will injuries or a possible trade shuffle the lineup as they try to get ready for the playoffs?

You guys have a few questions on these topics, so let’s dig into another “Hey Heika” and see if we can come up with some answers.

HEIKA: It’s a great question, because the Stars have nine in double digits through 49 games. That said, it will be tough to even get in the conversation of all-time records. Because the old NHL was a much more wide-open league, almost all of these records are for teams in the 1970s and early 1980s. The all-time record is 11 by the 1977-78 Bruins. Right behind with 10 are the 1970-71 Bruins, the 1974-75 Canadiens and the 1980-81 Blues. One outlier is the 2021-22 Blues, who had nine. That is the only team in recent years to push that level. Detroit in 2005-06 had eight. Otherwise, you have to go back a few decades.

HEIKA: I’m pretty patient because of what happened last year with Thomas Harley. He stayed almost all of last season in the AHL and has said on numerous occasions that it really helped his development. In addition, the Stars seem to have plenty of depth in the forward position, so they can wait and see if both Logan Stankoven and Mavrik Bourque (who are 1-2 in AHL scoring) could benefit from more time in the minors and maybe even a playoff run with the Texas Stars. Stankoven has 50 points (20 goals, 30 assists) in 39 games as a rookie, while Bourque has 47 points (16 goals, 31 assists) in his second year of pro hockey, so there are a couple of discussion points on this. One, if there is an injury, what kind of player do you need to replace the injured player? I think Bourque could play on any line and be successful, but I think Stankoven probably needs to play in the top nine or maybe even top six. Two, Ty Dellandrea is an incredible depth piece to have sitting around. He’s a first-round draft pick, he played all 82 games last season, tallying 28 points (9 goals, 19 assists) and he’s been patiently waiting for his chance. If the Stars suffer injuries, they have the ability to look at their forward group and give a glimpse to some of the great young prospects, but I don’t think they need to force it. They can be patient, and I think that’s the best path right now.

HEIKA: All reports are that Fanatics will use the same specs for the new jerseys and that there shouldn’t be any changes. The Reverse Retro program will end, so my guess is we won’t see any new Stars sweaters for a while. I’m fine with that as a trip to the arena these days means a plethora of different styles flooding the concourse. I actually like the current Homes and Roads, so I look forward to it staying the same for a little while.

HEIKA: I believe he was on the bench at the end of the game, so I think he should be fine with the week off.

HEIKA: I do believe that the historic relationship between record and performance is a little different in hockey where teams can go on streaks and slumps in a big way, but it usually plays out over 82 games. This has been an odd season. They have both blown leads in the third period and have come back in third periods. They have started slowly and then dominated second periods. They have found ways to win games while showing holes on defense and in goal. I would say the high point of the year is the depth scoring. As mentioned earlier, they have nine players with 10 goals or more and they rank third in the NHL in goals per game at 3.69 (up from seventh at 3.43 last season). The tough part is they have dropped from third overall in goals against at 2.62 to 14th at 3.06. An injury to Jake Oettinger has been a part of the issue, as well as offseason surgery, but the team can also be better as a whole at team defense. The offseason additions of Matt Duchene, Sam Steel and Craig Smith have helped create better depth scoring, but the departure of Luke Glendening and Joel Kiviranta (and the reduced play of Dellandrea) have probably allowed more chances against. It’s a trade-off in the NHL, and every new season brings a “new team,” so to speak. It will be interesting to see what happens here. Pete DeBoer has been very complimentary of the defensive DNA of this organization - and he’s right as Dallas ranks second in the NHL in GAA since 2017 when Ken Hitchcock replaced Lindy Ruff - so the guess is they will attempt to tighten things up after the break.

HEIKA: It’s the number they gave him. We actually talked in the summer about how there are some strange numbers on the Stars and that they could have been changed before this season (just the way Brenden Morrow switched from 45 to 10 after his rookie season), but the players all seem to like the numbers they have. Wyatt Johnston wore 5 as a kid and that was switched to 55 as he got older. When he got here, Harley had 55, so they gave Johnston 53. He said he now feels like it’s his number. As for the change to lower numbers a few years back, that was a Tom Gaglardi preference. As the league was trending toward 60s and 70s, Gaglardi asked to lower a few numbers, but that trend has passed us by, and now it seems everything is fair game.

HEIKA: I don’t know if the players have the same vitriol they used to have, so I think rivals are mostly determined by fans. While the potential for a good rivalry is out there with Colorado (because of the playoff race), I think the big one still is Minnesota. Many fans up North still think that Texas stole their team, and that brings a lot of emotion. The fans in Texas still believe they “own” the North Stars uniform (since they came with the team). I think that makes the series fun. I also think currently, the match-up between the very physical Wild and the very skilled Stars makes for an interesting clash of styles.

HEIKA: Tough questions to be sure of. I too believe a right-handed defenseman is the No. 1 priority with a left-handed defenseman who can play in the top four the next best option. I think Chris Tanev is an obvious target, as is Noah Hanifin. A lot depends on what Calgary decides and how many teams are interested. I guess my reply on the question of “expense” is “if not now, when?” I get that the Stars don’t have the draft pick capital they once had, but it seems like if this is the one piece that can push them over the top, now is the time to swing this deal. The guess is that to make the deal work, the Stars would have to possibly move a player from the roster – either a veteran with a heavier salary or a younger player who would be valuable to a potential trade partner. They won’t move any of the top prospects, but I think they could definitely have a discussion on players who are currently on the roster. I’m not a fan of adding a forward. They have Dellandrea ready to come in and they have the top two scorers in the AHL, so another forward could just gum things up. The other interesting thing to watch before the March 8 trade deadline is the progress of Harley and Nils Lundkvist. If Harley becomes a great partner for Miro Heiskanen, there might not be a need to bring in “that player.” If Lundkvist becomes a lineup regular who the coaches trust, there might not be a need to bring in “that player.” I know we all want to guess the future, but if things work out, the answers might all be right here.

HEIKA: It changes every day. Duchene and Scott Wedgewood are the easiest. You ask them one or two questions and they can really elaborate on a lot. Tyler Seguin probably gives some of the best answers, because he will joke around and go in different directions. I’m also a big fan of Jani Hakanpää. He gives very thoughtful responses and really reveals the thinking of a player in the game.

HEIKA: There are a lot of options out there, but Tyson Barrie is intriguing. He’s right-handed, he’s from Victoria, B.C. and is good friends with the Benn family. He also played with Jamie Benn in Kelowna. He’s battled an upper body injury with Nashville this year, so his trade value has been sinking. He might be an interesting pick up.

HEIKA: I believe most are going to beaches, but one of the interesting stories is Jason Robertson. He said he doesn’t like to be at the beach during hockey season, so he might head to his off-season home in the Detroit area. To each his own.

HEIKA: It’s been an interesting year for Jamie. What started as a locked in spot with Johnston and Evgenii Dadonov has morphed into a spot on a line with Joe Pavelski and Steel – and you could argue that the second option is better for his numbers. However, after finishing second on the team in points last season at 78 (33 goals, 45 assists), Benn currently sits 10th at 29 (8 goals, 21 assists) this year. Benn’s time on ice is down slightly, in large part because of the emergence of the Marchment-Duchene-Seguin line, but the real drop has been in his power play scoring. The Stars as a team are not on the man advantage as much as last season and that’s hurting everyone, but Benn had 13 power play goals and 30 power play points in 82 games last season. He only has 1 power play goal and 10 power play points in 49 games this year. At age 34, we could see some decline in numbers for Benn – and all forwards are having to find different ways to score goals with different line deployment this year. But the strength of his contribution is that he should play his best in the biggest games, so a lot of how this season will be judged for Benn is what happens in the playoffs. If he struggles with production there, then you can start to worry.

This story was not subject to the approval of the National Hockey League or Dallas Stars Hockey Club.

Mike Heika is a Senior Staff Writer for DallasStars.com and has covered the Stars since 1994. Follow him on Twitter @MikeHeika.