The Washington Times - August 21, 2008, 10:43AM

After years of great regular seasons but playoff disappointments, the Stars finally had some sustained playoff success in the post-Ed Belfour Era. It was a slow start and the team finished with its second-lowest point total since the last Cup finals appearance in 2000, but a big trade and a big playoffs from their captain and and their goalie more than made up for it.

DALLAS STARS

SEE RELATED:


2007-08: 45-30-7, 97 points (third in Pacific)

PLAYOFFS: Lost in Detroit in conference finals

WHAT WENT RIGHT: Anyone still want to question Marty Turco’s ability in the postseason? Anyone? Mike Riberio had a great season, making the move to acquire him look like one of the top post-lockout heists in the league. Brendan Morrow’s work in the playoffs had pundits anointing him the premier leader in the game. Brad Richards was acquired at the trade deadline, the first major move by new co-GMs Les Jackson and Brett Hull.

WHAT WENT WRONG: It proved to be the best season in Big D in eight years, but 2007-08 didn’t start all that well, and it cost GM Doug Armstrong his job. Injuries cost key vets like Sergei Zubov, Jere Lehtinen and Philippe Boucher large chunks of the season.

ARRIVALS: LW Sean Avery

DEPARTURES: LW Antti Miettinen, LW Niklas Hagman, D Mattias Norstrom, G Johan Holmqvist

IMPACT PROSPECTS: LW Fabian Brunnstrom

CAMP QUESTIONS

How will Avery fit in?

He can be a one-man circus, but Sean Avery can also be a pretty good hockey player. On this team without Miettinen and Hagman and with Mike Modano nearing retirement, the Stars are going to need him to worry a little more about scoring and a little less about being Sean Avery. That said, how much would you pay to watch the first Dallas-Calgary on pay per view if Avery and Dion Phaneuf had microphones?

Is Brunnstrom the real deal?

Few undrafted prospects have caused such a stir in recent memory as the hype surrounding Fabian Brunnstrom. His courtship by several NHL teams was big news. Now he has to prove he can play, and like Avery, help make up for the loss of 42 goals from Hagman and Miettinen.

PROGNOSIS: If Avery behaves and Turco stays healthy, the Stars can be Cup contenders again. Having Brad Richards for a full season will be a big help, but Riberio needs to show he can be consistently great. Zubov and Boucher are getting old, but the Stars have a trio of young kids (Trevor Daley, Matt Niskanen and Nicklas Grossman) that are the future – not to mention a key part of the present – on the Dallas blue line.

DEPTH CHART*

Brendan MorrowMike RiberioJere Lehtinen
Sean AveryBrad RichardsLoui Erikkson
Fabian BrunnstromMike ModanoSteve Ott
Toby Peterson/Chris ConnorJoel LundqvistKrys Barch/Landon Wilson
Sergei ZubovPhilippe Boucher
Matt NiskanenStephane Robidas
Trevor DaleyNicklas Grossman
Mark FistricDan Jancevski
Marty Turco
Tobias Stephan

 

*NOTE: This is not necessarily an attempt to guess line combinations