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Dallas Stars 2011-2012 Betting Preview

Bet On NHL Hockey Dallas Stars Season Preview

In the light of ownership issues and the departure of Dallas’s best player via free agency, GM Joe Nieuwendyk had plenty of work to do this offseason – none of it all that appealing. The Dallas Stars chore now – just remain competitive.

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Odds To Win Pacific Division: +825
Odds to Win Stanley Cup: 40/1
Last season: 42-29-11, 95 points (5th place Pacific, 9th place Western)
Acquisitions: Michael Ryder, RW; Jake Dowell, C; Radek Dvorak, RW; Vernon Fiddler, LW; Eric Godard, RW; Adam Pardy, D; Sheldon Souray, D
Departures: Brad Richards, C; Jamie Langenbrunner, RW; Karlis Skrastins, D; Jason Williams, C; Jeff Woywitka, D
Youngsters to Keep an Eye On: Tomas Vincour, C; Philip Larsen, D; Jack Campbell, G;

The Stars lineup has been reshaped completely – they are a decent group of youth and veteran talent all of whom seem to lie outside the Top tier of NHL talent.

As it stands prior to the season, Mike Ribeiro looks to have a lock on the Number One center role as unappealing as that may sound. He will likely have Brenden Morrow and Loui Eriksson on his wings to shape what resembles more of a second line than a first. Youngster and best Stars breakout candidate Jamie Benn should anchor the second line with super pest Steve Ott and recently acquired veteran Michael Ryder whose career was resurrected with a strong playoff run with the Boston Bruins last season.

The third line will in all likelihood feature two more Nieuwendyk acquisitions, Vernon Fiddler at center, Radek Dvorak on right wing and potentially youngster Toby Peterson on left. The Stars fourth line has yet to be determined but names like Adam Burish, Jake Dowell and Krys Barch are names of grinders that seem Taylor-made for the role.

Defensively, Dallas appears on paper to be void of any elite talent. Sheldon Souray was brought in and if he can regain his form from a few years ago, he has a chance to be a legitimate Top three or four on the team. Souray is a huge risk however. He is 35 and he did spend a year in the AHL last season. [ad-4437448]

If on his game, Souray’s incredible shot and power play prowess makes him a true difference make. Joining Souray on the Blue Line will be Stephane Ribidas, Alex Golikoski, Trevor Daley, Nicklas Grossman and Adam Pardy to form an OK back end. Do you have the feeling that Goaltending will have to be Top Tier in order for the Stars to compete this year? Me too!

Between the pipes, Dallas will have Kari Lehtonen to handle the bulk of the load with Andrew Raycroft serving as backup. Lehtonen had his share of issues last season – injuries and inconsistency plagued his 2010-2011 season.

However, when Lehtonen is “on” he is capable of masquerading as a Tier Two goaltender but not quite elite. Needless to say, the keepers are going to have to be Dallas’s MVPs this season or it is going to be a long, long year for the Stars.

Betting Prediction: It is hard to imagine Dallas being able to overcome the loss of their best offensive weapon. Everyone on the team, young and old is going to have to step up to keep Dallas out of the basement in the Pacific Division. Dallas is thin up front, has question marks on defense and will be too reliant on a goaltender that can look great but can also look dreadful.

Fearless Forecast: Dallas, with a new coach and a new philosophy will have a difficult time staying above .500 this season. The only battles that they will be in are the ones against themselves and the one against the Coyotes for last place in the Pacific.

The Stars finish last in the Division leaving beloved GM Joe Nieuwendyk to pick up the pieces.

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