Skip to main content
The Official Site of the Dallas Stars

Maybe Bran has a point: Are Stars exactly where they're supposed to be?

Dallas could use a dose of wisdom from the 'Game of Thrones' character as every good story takes time to develop

by Mike Heika @MikeHeika / Senior Staff Writer

Like many of you, I'm trying to unravel "Game of Thrones" in my head and sort out all of the possible meanings and character arcs.

One of the things that I keep coming back to is Bran using a similar phrase on several characters: You were exactly where you were supposed to be.

He said it to Jaime, explaining that being pushed from the tower by the Kingslayer led Bran to becoming who (or what) he now is.

He said it to Theon, explaining that all of his bad decisions brought the confused Greyjoy/Stark to his ultimate destination: "home."

He explained it to Jon Snow, in one of the final lines of the entire series that seemed to sum up a lot of what happened.

 

[IS IT OCTOBER YET?: Choose from 4 great options and secure your 10-Game Plan for 2019-20 today]

 

Many have surmised that Bran knows all, so he is reassuring his fellow characters that they really didn't have a choice and that this was the destiny each was given. Some believe Bran is actually controlling the events, so he's a bit of a creepy villain in all of this. Some believe there are religious undertones that mirror our own society.

After a lot of thought, I'm starting to believe that Bran is actually a realist who understands that you can learn from your past and build on the future. If you simply absorb the events, dissect the decisions, and stay calm, then maybe you can survive and even move forward with grace and patience.

You can look at the Stars that way.

This has been a hard story to read at times. It has been filled with disappointment and drama and dread. There have been oh-so-many nights that were dark and full of terrors. Heck, you can say that you have seen many Martin-like character arcs where you fall in love with a player only to witness his Victory Green "death."

Video: Nill confident in direction Stars are heading

Antoine Roussel anyone? Cody Eakin? Kari Lehtonen could be the player you hated to love -- and still mourned when he was gone.

It's impossible to explain these transactions as part of a bigger plan. Some were good for the team. Some were not. Some just were. That's how sports goes sometimes. Just like the presence of Tormund or Gendry or Gilly, they are simply role players who help advance the plot.

But the story has to be leading somewhere, right? That's what Tyrion told us, that the story was what was important. So is this tale coming to a good ending? Will this decade-long miniseries give us some satisfaction at some point?

You'd like to think so.

You'd like to think that the long path to acquire Ben Bishop gives the Stars a goalie who is in his prime and ready to win now. While these things change from year to year, you can argue Bishop is a top-five goalie in the league, and should be again next season. You're always worried about a possible injury, but the presence of Anton Khudobin gives Bishop the ability to manage his schedule. And if the duo can simply repeat next year what they accomplished this season, the belief is the Stars have the net-minding to win the Stanley Cup.

Likewise, Dallas also has key players who should be in their prime. Tyler Seguin is 27, John Klingberg will be the same before next season. Jamie Benn is about to turn 30. They still have talent, and now can use experience to amplify their skills.

That trio was chief among the reasons the Stars were able to get to double overtime of Game 7 in the second round of the playoffs. That group gained the kind of training that had been missing in previous campaigns, and now they can use that to get even better.

The same goes for Esa Lindell, and Miro Heiskanen, and Roope Hintz, and Jason Dickinson, and Radek Faksa. They should be better from this experience. They should take the next step.

Mix in the audacity of having the same coaching staff for two consecutive seasons, and who knows where this thing can go.

Video: Seguin sees a foundation in place for future success

Stars general manager Jim Nill has pushed a lot of buttons in getting to where we are now, and while some have not worked, some have built a foundation that could provide a pool of good young players from which the team can fill in holes next season. There is spackle down in the AHL, and now the team just has to find the right places to use it.

Add to this the fact the Stars should have some wiggle room with the salary cap, and the opportunity to take advantage of a key free agent or a smart trade is laying out there like a dragon's egg in the wilderness.

Of course, if we're following the line of thinking that Bran isn't controlling the future, merely learning from the past, then there has to be some smart decision-making.

Vancouver went through a long winning run that ended with no Cup. San Jose might be in the middle of something similar. The Blues have worked long and hard to get to this place, but they have no guarantee of success in the upcoming Cup Final.

Sometimes, the ending isn't what you were hoping for.

But if stories really do define us, then let's look back on the one we know best. When Bob Gainey brought the Stars to Dallas back in 1993, he had to go through a lot of growing pains. He had to find the right coach, make the right trades, sign the right free agents. And even then, there was a first-round exit in 1997, and Joe Nieuwendyk's injury in 1998.

There were lessons that had to be learned.

The thing is that while turning the pages of the history books, you could see the old Stars getting better each year, getting closer each year. You could see the progress. As you survey the current Dallas team, you kind of get a similar feeling.

Maybe they are exactly where they are supposed to be.

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, and listen to his podcast.

View More