Why the Dallas Stars Made the Playoffs

Shawn Horcoff, Marc-Andre Cliche

Six years. It’s been six years since the Dallas Stars made the Stanley Cup playoffs, but finally the streak is over. The streak that has seen three coaching changes ended April 11, 2014 when the Dallas Stars defeated the St. Louis Blues 3-0. There have been many tough seasons since the Stars have made the postseason but there have been several aspects that have led them back into the playoffs.

Among these include Tom Gaglardi taking ownership of the team in 2011. Before Gaglardi, the team was in a state of disarray but since he has taken over the team has made smart draft moves and key trades that have led them back into the postseason.

Another key aspect of the 2013-2014 success began in the offseason when they were able to acquire prized GM Candidate Jim Nill. Nill was an instrumental member of the Detroit Red Wings organization  and during his tenure he was able to help contribute to 4 Stanley Cup Trophies.

Nill wasted little time in making moves that dramatically impacted the future of the organization by signing veterans like Sergei Gonchar and Shawn Horcoff. These veterans along with Erik Cole  and Trevor Daley were able to provide veteran leadership to a team that has lots of young talent, many of which are younger than 25.

Another key offseason acquisition was not a player but it was bringing in a veteran coach in Lindy Ruff. Ruff may be familiar to Stars fans, because he was the coach of the Buffalo Sabers when the Stars won the Stanley Cup back in 1999.  Ruff has instilled several fundamental beliefs, chief among them being “never give up no matter what the score says.” He got his point across: the Stars were shut out just once this year.

Perhaps the most significant move the Stars made this offseason was when they traded LW Loui Eriksson, Reilly Smith, and two other prospects to the Boston Bruins for LW Tyler Seguin, Rich Peverley and a defensive prospect. At the time of the trade some fans were upset because they were emotionally attached to fan favorite Loui Eriksson but as time would show this was a mutually beneficial trade for both clubs.

Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin have since gone on to develop some of the best chemistry in the NHL, even rivaling the Anaheim Ducks’ Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry. One can expect that they will continue to grow to be a very dominant force in the league for many years to come. The young and speed and talent that the Dallas Stars play with makes it difficult for others teams to keep up with the pace in which the Stars play at night in and night out.

The Dallas Stars have undergone many changes in recent memory, but they will be making their return in the NHL postseason in 2014. The Stars have laid the foundation to continue to grow, and with age and valuable playoff experience they will continue on their way to becoming a dominant force in the NHL for many years to come.