Sitting at fifth place in the Central Division, the Dallas Stars need to enter this All-Star break focused on getting some much-needed rest. With teams such as the Colorado Avalanche, St. Louis Blues, and Nashville Predators ahead of them in the standings, Dallas is facing a tough challenge in the upcoming months. In an unremarkable first half, the Stars are sending only one player to the All-Star game this season. Although Joe Pavelski will be alone in representing the Stars in the All-Star game, many have stepped up in recent weeks. Let’s recap the players who have impressed in the first half.
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Pavs is having quite the season. The veteran is averaging more than a point per game for the first time in his 16-year career. At 37-years old, he is showing some impressive longevity. Pavelski has 19 goals in 43 games and has been steady at the helm with linemates Jason Roberston and Roope Hintz. Surprisingly, this mixture of veteran leadership and young speed in the line of Pavelski-Roberston-Hintz has proved beneficial for the Stars. With Pavelski having a career season, Dallas is looking for matching production from younger players in the second half of the season.
Seguin seems to be returning to form in the past few weeks. Coming off a rehab process that took much longer than anticipated, Seguin is learning to change his approach. Scoring ten points in his last eight games, he is settling into making adjustments. He doesn’t possess the speed and puck skill he once did, but Seguin still finds ways to contribute. Moving the 30-year-old to the Benn-Gurianov line was a smart play for head coach Rick Bowness. After reuniting with his old partner in crime, Seguin began putting points back on the board. A three-point game against the Boston Bruins is sure to be the spark Seguin needs to continue this production. Even though Seguin had a slow start to the season, he seems to be finding his comfort zone. Returning from injury is never easy, so this mid-season break should do his body some good.
Roberston is making Stars general manager Jim Nill look smarter by the day. Given the offensive awareness he has displayed this season, it is reasonable to believe Robertson will be the heartbeat of this offense. He is ranked second in points on the team behind Pavelski, and Roberston’s stock is rising every week. Maintaining this production will be crucial if Dallas wants to make a late-season push. More post-season exposure will be good for the young forward, as experience is a huge part of being successful come springtime. Accumulating 41 points in 35 games played, Robertson has proved he can become the focal point of this offense down the road.
Coming back from the break, the Stars will face off against the Predators. This will be an important game against a division rival and a much-needed win for Dallas. Nashville has a record of 28-14-4 and sits second in the Central Division. But, if the Stars can make a strong push into the spring, they can set themselves up to secure playoff seeding. Although this Central Division boasts many offensive powerhouse teams, the Stars have proven in the past that they can play gritty, defensive hockey. The second half of the season should provide some exciting hockey down to the wire. Look for Dallas to bolster their lower lines and push for a chance at post-season play.
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