2021-22 record: 46-30-6 (98 points – lost in the first round against Calgary Flames)
Noted additions: Mason Marshman, Colin Miller, Riley Barber, Will Butcher
Notable losses: John Klingberg, Vladislav Namestkov, Alexander Radulov, Braden Holtby
Blues 2021-22 Season Series vs Colorado: 3-1-0
Stars looking to compete for the trophy
Over the past three seasons, the stars have scored 106-73-28. They hit their ticket to the Stanley Cup playoffs twice, once to the final. The team includes a large number of highly paid veterans on their roster, mixed with many young members who are taking over and leading the franchise. Next season will be a big indicator of the state of the team and the direction it is heading as they look to exit the transitional phase and return to the Cup Finals.
With the 2022-23 season opening, Jason Robertson, Robbie Hintz and Joe Pavlesky are expected to occupy the top row in Dallas. The trio was well above and beyond the most productive strikers in the team, collecting 103 goals and 232 points. Pavlesky continues to challenge Father Time by producing at a point-per-game rate this past season and amassing 163 points in 205 games during his three seasons in Dallas, all of which were aged 35 or older.
While the club is starting to see a new wave of star players earning roles in the NHL, the team also has several veterans suffering major declines at a costly rate. The duo of Seguin and Benn are no longer key players in the Stars lineup going forward despite their total cost of $19.35 million next season. Seguin returned from major surgical repairs after undergoing hip arthroscopy and labral repair in November 2020 and knee arthroscopy one month later. At only thirty, he could still bounce back and prove his worth. However, at $9.85 million a season, he’ll need to see a significant increase in points production from his 24-point, 49-point season.
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Over the holiday season, it stars 27-year-old Mason Marchment after signing a four-year, $18 million contract. The striker played only three seasons in the National Hockey League, scoring 58 points (20 goals, 38 assists) in 91 games. The team appears ready to use the combined size and speed of Marchment, Radek Faksa and Luke Glendening in their third streak.
Next season brings options for the fourth streak of stars. Even though he’s no longer the player he once was, Benn can still produce across all ice regions and could benefit from a lower role. During the final month of the season, he averaged a time of 16:36 on the ice with one goal and seven points over 16 games. Ben is a player who can be moved up and down the squad while contributing in different ways. Alongside him, players like Joel Kiviranta, Jacob Peterson and Marian Studenic can see the time and be asked to play a defensive role for the team.
The stars have two prospects, Ty Delandria and Wyatt Johnston, who could make their way into the squad next season. After a 50-point campaign in the American Hockey League, Dellandrea appears ready to make the jump to the NHL and potentially land a role on the team’s third line. 19-year-old Johnston remains a wild card en route to training camp. After scoring 124 points (46 goals, 78 assists) over 68 games for the Windsor Spitfires in the Ontario Hockey League (OHL), he went on to attack with 14 goals and 41 points in 25 post-season games. The team can use both players as goal-scoring options during training camp and pre-season, which could come in handy if the veterans continue to hold back.
The star defense should see very little change this coming season. The club’s best duo should remain the same with Ryan Sutter and Miro Heskanen. In his first season with the stars, Sutter (37) produced 32 points (seven goals, 25 assists) over the course of a full 82 games, along with three assists in seven playoffs. The 23-year-old Heiskanen averaged just under 25 minutes on the ice this past season, scoring five goals and 36 points in 70 games. Klingberg’s departure could increase his point totals as he enters his fifth season in the NHL.
The second coupling unit does a combination project of Esa Lindell and Jani Hakanpaa. The two have been paired with each other through various points in the 2021-22 season but could see a choppy spread as Hakanba is one of only two right-handers currently on the roster. The two men will be looking to contribute to their secondary attack, physical mentality, and defensiveness as well. Last season, Hakanpaa hit just over three hits per game while blocking one or two shots as well.
The club is planning three duos to be played by Thomas Harley and Colin Miller. Harley, 21, had his first season in the National Hockey League last year, playing 34 games. He can be paired with 29-year-old Miller for the 2022-23 season. Recently signed Miller played seven seasons in the NHL with the Buffalo Sabers, Boston Bruins and the Vegas Golden Knights. The combination of two defensive players could be a sneaky unit for Dallas this season because they are both skilled in self-defense and capable of attacking offensively.
In the network, the stars turned the page on the new goalkeeper, Jake Oettinger. The 23-year-old played just 77 regular season games during his first two NHL seasons with 2.46 goals-to-average (GAA), 913 saves (SV%), and 12.1 goals saved above average (GSAA). ). During the team’s 2021-22 playoff round against Flames, he caught the nation’s attention. Oettinger started all seven games for the All-Stars, seeing an average of 37 shots per game, including 67 during an overtime 7 game loss.
Oettinger will be associated with 30-year-old goalkeeper Scott Wedgwood as a reserve goalkeeper throughout the year. He made just eight appearances with the All-Stars last season, scoring a 3-1-3 record with 3.04 GAA and 0.913 SV%. Wedgwood has yet to settle into an organization after playing for his third team in four seasons. This year, he’ll be looking to build on his 2021-22 performances that have seen him play in New Jersey, Arizona and Dallas.
How does the blues match?
With a mix of veterans and youngsters filling the lineup, the Stars is a team currently in transition. Next season, the team should see consistent starts in the net from Jake Oettinger, who has faced the Blues only twice and scored a 1-1 record, allowing five goals from 65 shots. The team is talented and competitive under the leadership of new appointed coach Pete Debor. The two teams will see each other three times during the 2022-23 season, with the Blues currently in favour. However, the Superstars are a team that ranks very late and could prove to be annoying opponents this season and could play well enough to sweep the series.
Mike is a writer for The Hockey Writers and has been covering the St. Louis Blues since November 2021. He has a great love for statistical analysis, forecasts, engagements and trading. Follow mike On Twitter for more center section or blues hockey discussions, interview requests, or to provide content information.