The Dallas Stars were among the biggest disappointments in the NHL this past season.
A 30-point drop in the standings from the year prior resulted in them missing the playoffs and seeking major upgrades in the off-season.
“Last year, if you want to have excuses, I think we had them,” Stars forward Tyler Seguin told Joey Vendetta on Sportsnet 590 The Fan Monday. “We had guys injured to start the year, including myself. In the end, I think we just didn’t have the start we wanted to have.
“With our division you can’t really fall behind. We couldn’t figure it out, we couldn’t put wins together, and it really was disappointing and unacceptable year with how we played the year before. The good thing is we know we finished tops in the West the year before and kind of have [2016-17] as a wash year.”
Stars general manager Jim Nill was busy this summer and did everything he could to ensure his team returns to contender form.
Only the lowly Colorado Avalanche allowed more goals against than the Stars so Nill acquired proven starter Ben Bishop to fortify the crease. A silver lining to finishing so low in the standings—they tied for sixth fewest points in the league—was it ensured them a high draft pick. They moved up a few spots thanks to some luck at the NHL Draft Lottery and won the rights to the third-overall pick, which they kept and used to select highly touted Finnish defenceman Miro Heiskanen.
Nill also acquired veteran blue-liner Marc Methot from the Vegas Golden Knights, was aggressive in signing big-fish free agent forwards Alexander Radulov and Martin Hanzal, and brought in Ken Hitchcock as the team’s new head coach.
“On paper, there isn’t a team in the league we’re really intimidated by so it’s going to be how we come together at camp, how everyone gels together and I’m very excited,” Seguin said. “I really want our team identity this year to be a team that can stay in a game and be a second-half-of-the-game kind of team. You look at the Chicagos and top teams, the Pittsburghs, they’re never really out of a game. They can find a way to win every night.”
As part of his preparation for the 2017-18 campaign Seguin will be participating in on- and off-ice drills at the annual BioSteel camp, which began Monday in Toronto and goes through Thursday. Seguin, along with a handful of his fellow NHL stars such Connor McDavid and Wayne Simmonds, are among the participants.