Here’s a look at what we can expect out of this team. All things considered it should be an interesting season with some new faces in the lineup, our number one center signing in New York, and a new head coach trying to right the ship.
1. Alex Goligoski finishes in the top 10 in defensemen scoring with 50 points, give or take. He was buried in a Pittsburgh defense that was deeper than ours, yet put up pretty respectable numbers. We caught a glimpse of his offensive jump and creativity last season when he came over in the deadline deal and there’s no reason that won’t continue.
2. Mike Ribeiro feels more like a #1 center with Richards out of the picture and embraces the role with a season not too unlike his breakout season of 2007-08. Expect a good year from Ribs, 80 to 85 points and likely the team leader there. He was one of our best players down the stretch last year when the chips were down, proving to GM Joe that he’s worth keeping. I expect the same desire this season.
3. Kari Lehtonen builds on his comeback season of last year. He’s in shape, and his confidence has to be up. He looked great in the pre-season and should be able to remind everyone that he was a 2nd overall raft pick not 10 years ago.
4. Tomas Vincour jerseys are spotted in the crowd at the AAC. He had a great pre-season and although he won’t be handed a prominent offensive role just yet, he’ll show that he belongs in the NHL and will be a bright spot for the future.
5. Glen Gulutzan is more of a players coach and will have the players wanting to play for him, which should show.
6. Steve Ott bounces back and improves on his disappointing dip to 12 goals last season. Look for him to hit at least the upper-teens, quite possibly hitting 20 again.
7. Jamie Benn embraces a bigger role and gains more recognition league wide for the stud player that he is. Look for at least 65 points out of him in a full season as well as some strong all-round play and some highlight reel goals.
8. There will be a new owner of course, but no major changes will be made as far as management or coaching staff goes. Joe Nieuwendyk’s job will not be in jeopardy is what I’m really getting at here.
9. The team will not sink like a rock, according to most “experts”. Losing Brad Richards will hurt in certain situations, but the team has addressed it’s depth problems as well as added some toughness. This a more well-rounded team and something you can’t measure by looking at the names in a lineup is desire. After missing the playoffs for three straight seasons, the core of this group will be hungry to get back to the post-season and with better coaching, being on the outs by just one win can easily be relayed in to a playoff spot. They will at least battle just as they did last season.
About the Author
Written by Travis Currie
Im your typical sports fan. Just a little more crazy about it. I live and die for my teams and I drive my girlfriend nuts. I consider myself the world's biggest Stars fan. Ive been a fan since I was a young kid going back to the mid 80's. Favourite Stars player of all-time is of course Mike Modano. Favourite non-Stars player of all-time is Peter Stastny. I love talking sports so please leave a reply to anything you agree or disagree with. If youd like to contact me my email is firstname.lastname@example.org