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On the Radar: Road rewrite

An important road win in the books, it's now up to the Stars to turn Tuesday's result into consistent success away from AAC

by Josh Bogorad @JoshBogorad / On The Radar

During Thanksgiving week, the Stars played three games in four nights surrounding the holiday. The trio of games were a microcosm of the Stars season through the first two months. Dallas went 2-1, winning both of their home games and dropping the one on the road.

That's been the story so far for Dallas.

The Stars have one of the best home records in the NHL at 9-2, and have won nine of their last 10 games at American Airlines Center. On the road, however, the script gets flipped. Entering this week, Dallas was 3-8-1 through their first dozen road games -- good enough to sit dead last in the NHL. The question has been asked many times, to many people.

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On the Radar: Deciding the games

The Stars' best players are engaged, producing and showing off a new identity of confidence and swagger

by Josh Bogorad @JoshBogorad / On The Radar

On Tuesday night, the Stars began a five-game road trip in Denver. They went into it riding a four-game winning streak, hoping to extend the positive results in a building that has provided very few of them in recent memory. It didn't happen. Dallas lost 5-3 and their streak evaporated into the mile-high air.

Before time expired on the game and their run of wins, the Stars were a club making changes to try and spin the outcome. They switched up the forward lines, trying to get more production from throughout their lineup. An injury on the blue line necessitated a change to how the defensemen were deployed. And about midway through a one-goal game, during a commercial timeout, Ben Bishop suddenly left the crease in place of Kari Lehtonen. Afterwards, it was that move that grabbed the headlines.

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The wait is over: Stars' trek to bounce-back year starts at training camp

Following an offseason makeover - and lengthy recess - it's time to find out exactly what goes where in Dallas' new house

by Josh Bogorad @JoshBogorad / On The Radar

Seguin on Stars plans on offense

Seguin on the change in Stars offensive strategy

Dallas Stars forward Tyler Seguin talks about the change in offensive philosophy with the addition of Ken Hitchcock as head coach

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There are certain times in life when you know you are about to have something, but still must wait to actually get your hands on it. Maybe you found your dream house and your offer was accepted, but you can't close for a couple of months. Or you finally booked the vacation you've been saving and planning for, but it's not until next summer. The excitement of what is coming can be exhilarating. You searched, you studied, you planned -- and now it's yours. You can't wait.

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On the Radar - SUMMER SPLASH

by Josh Bogorad @JoshBogorad / On the Radar

When the Dallas Stars season ended, a challenge was laid at the feet of the organization. They knew it. So did everyone else. This would be the most important Stars offseason in recent memory, and unquestionably the biggest since Jim Nill took over as the team's General Manager. How would the team approach it? Three months after the offseason began we now know.

The Stars answered perhaps the biggest offseason in team history with arguably the best offseason in team history.

What the Stars have done in less than 100 days since last leaving the ice is the stuff of video game GMs. Need a new coach? Get the future Hall-of-Fame defensive specialist. A goaltender? Go grab a guy who was a Vezina Trophy finalist a year before. Want to shore up the blue line? Get a big, physical, defensive-defenseman who makes his living lining up next to offensive guys like the ones on your roster. Feel like bolstering the offense? Get an elite right winger to play with Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin. Also add one of the top two-way centers in the league. While you're at it, mix in an intriguing low-risk, high-reward young forward to lead a group of depth additions.

If you saw a lineup that read Ken Hitchcock, Ben Bishop, Marc Methot, Alexander Radulov and Martin Hanzal, you might wonder what awards banquet you were at. Instead that is the list of additions to an already star-studded lineup.

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Focus on depth

GM Jim Nill bolsters depth at forward in first day of free agency

by Mark Stepneski @StarsInsideEdge / Inside Edge

Depth was the buzzword as Stars GM Jim Nill plunged into day one of NHL free agency Saturday. Nill bolstered his center depth with the addition of Martin Hanzal, added more forward depth with Tyler Pitlick and Brian Flynn and then added some depth in the goaltending ranks with Mike McKenna.

Hanzal was the big prize of the day for the Stars, who signed the 6-6, 226-pound center to a three-year, $14.25 million contract. The Stars were already deep at center with Tyler Seguin, Jason Spezza, and Radek Faksa, but got deeper with Hanzal, who plays both sides of special teams, is one of the league's best faceoff guys, can play a shutdown role and score some goals. He tallied 20 last season in 71 games while playing for both Arizona and Minnesota.

"Anytime you can be strong down the middle, it is important for your team," Nill said. "We've been fortunate that area has gotten stronger for us as we've moved along. We've got different types of players, too. We've got some speed, some scoring, some big heavy bodies, some good checkers. We've got a good mix, and I think we can match up against anybody in the league down the middle now. And we've got a lot of depth in that position."

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Draft Profile: Gabe Vilardi

Big, skilled center ranks third on many lists heading into the 2017 NHL Draft

by Mark Stepneski @StarsInsideEdge / Inside Edge

The latest in our series of draft profiles looks at center Gabe Vilardi. There's no consensus No. 3 pick after Nolan Patrick and Nico Hischier in this year's draft, but Vilardi does show up in the third spot on many lists. Described by Red Line Report as a "big, strong, rugged center with skill," Vilardi had a strong regular season with Windsor of the Ontario Hockey League despite missing time with injuries and then helped the Spitfires capture the 2017 Memorial Cup. If the Stars hold onto that third overall pick in the draft, Vilardi is a guy who is expected to be available for selection.

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On the Radar - Prepping for the Present

by Josh Bogorad @JoshBogorad / On the Radar

Only six weeks in and it has already been quite an offseason for the Dallas Stars. Four months still remain, and the busiest portion of the summer is yet to come. It's possible the excitement has just begun in Dallas. So far, however, the captivating news has centered around three things - a coach, a goaltender, and a draft. All three headlines made a splash. And all three have something in common. 

First came the return of Ken Hitchcock. The most successful coach in Stars history is back in Dallas ready to return the team to prominence. Four weeks after that, the Stars made a huge roster move acquiring the rights to goaltender Ben Bishop and signing him to a long term deal a few days later. In between the coaching and goaltending additions, the Stars won the third overall pick in the draft lottery.

Diving into each item a little deeper reveals the parallel.

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On the Radar - Clean Out Day

by Josh Bogorad @JoshBogorad / On the Radar

It was May 13, 2016. Clean Out Day.

The Dallas Stars gathered for one final time as a team before heading their separate ways for the summer. Two days earlier the Stars had dropped Game 7 of the Central Division Final. Dallas was three periods away from the Conference Finals. And then...Bam! The offseason had arrived.

The best Stars season in a decade was over. 109 points, two banners to add to the American Airlines Center rafters, the first playoff series victory in eight years. It was a season for the ages. One to be celebrated. But there was no celebrating on that day. The Stars had designs on playing another month. They had set records - both individually and collectively. They had been on an eight month joyride and no one was ready to get off. Then, suddenly, abruptly, it was over.

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by Josh Bogorad @JoshBogorad / On the Radar

On Saturday night the Stars finished a grueling stretch of hockey. They played their ninth game in a two-week span. Their opponent that night was statistically the best team in the NHL. They were also the hottest. The Washington Capitals strolled into Dallas on a 12-game point streak. Over those dozen games, the Caps had obliterated the competition. They outscored opponents 55-23. They had scored five or more goals in five straight games. They had allowed one or zero goals in seven games during the streak. They weren't just winning. They were dominating.

Despite playing nine games in seven cities over 15 nights, the Stars were ready to go. Dallas shrugged off an early goal against and controlled the tempo pretty much from the outset. They carried the game. They were fast. They were physical. They controlled the possession numbers. They were outshooting the ridiculously hot Capitals by a two-to-one ratio. They had a 3-1 lead at second intermission. Once again it was a lopsided Caps game, only this time the opponent had the upper hand.    

Lindy Ruff would later call the game - from an engagement and battling standpoint - among the best the Stars have played all season. Dallas was in control by every metric available, including the eyeball test.

Then came the third period.

Two penalties 94 seconds apart. Two goals two minutes and eight seconds apart. In the blink of an eye, 40 minutes of domination against the league's best had been erased. Another blink and 19 seconds of overtime later, the Stars were left trying to pick up the pieces of a game that somehow fell apart. The loss was the latest in what's become a long line of stinging defeats for this year's Stars.

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Stars fall to Ducks, 2-0

Oleksiak, Eaves leave game with injuries as Stars lose final game of road trip

by Mark Stepneski @StarsInsideEdge / Inside Edge

After matching their season-high in goals with six Monday night in Los Angeles, the Stars couldn't find the back of the net Tuesday in Anaheim and fell 2-0 to the Ducks at Honda Center.

"The guys worked hard. It was a tough back-to-back," said Stars coach Lindy Ruff. "[Monday] night was a tough game and [tonight] we were right there to at least tie the game."

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