Dallas Stars NHL Favorites Among Bookies But Age An Issue
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Did the oddsmakers become too star-struck by what the Dallas Stars did in the offseason?
That question is already making for an interesting debate, as the Stars suddenly have become the odds-on favorites to win the Central Division - considered the NHL’s toughest - with Dallas at +300 at 888Sport.
There’s no question that the Stars were already a good team, one that made the playoffs, beat Nashville in the first round and took eventual Stanley Cup champion St. Louis to seven games in the Western semifinals. Then, over the summer, they went out and added Joe Pavelski and Corey Perry to the lineup.
Joe Pavelski has officially taken the ice as a Dallas Star.— Bruce LeVine (@BruceLeVinePuck) September 13, 2019
Yep, this is really happening pic.twitter.com/IlGYiETsZc
Whether adding two players well into their mid-30s - both with some recent injury history - was actually a smart move or not in a league trending younger and younger? Like we said, plenty of debate on that.
Could Perry Have a Return to Form?
Of the two free-agent signings GM Jim Nill made to bolster his forward group, Perry is the one with the most question marks surrounding him. Will the knee that gave him so much trouble last season in Anaheim be able to withstand another NHL season? He was never the fastest skater even with good knees, so can he even be expected to keep up in a league full of blazing-fast millennials?
Perry is saying all the things people like Nill and Stars fans want to hear, at least.
“It is a business, I get it. But at the same time, it gives me motivation and I put last year behind me with the injury and all that. I don't really count it as a season, trying to come back in February is not the easiest thing to do. I'm going to come into camp, I'm going to be 100%, feeling great and ready to play,” Perry told the Dallas Morning News.
A former 50-goal scorer, Stanley Cup champion and Hart Trophy winner, if the Stars can get half of that kind of goal production from Perry, they’ll be happy - especially because they only had to give him a one-year, $1.5 million contract after he was bought out by the Ducks.
Age Upfront an Issue but Defense Looks Good
Pavelski, 35, had another productive season for the San Jose Sharks, with 38 goals and 64 points in 75 games. Then came the nasty concussion he suffered in Game 7 of the first round against Vegas, one that kept him out until Game 7 of the following series against Colorado.
So, while he still seems to have something left in the tank, you always worry about a guy with a concussion history and overall the Stars have seven forwards 30 or older.
This is such a young, fast league now that, while the Stars have premier skill in those older forwards, you wonder how fresh they’ll become next spring when the real grind of the playoffs comes.
Otherwise, there is much to like about Dallas’ defense, which is younger and more mobile, led by Miro Heiskanen and John Klingberg. Then, in goal, there’s Ben Bishop, who was a Vezina finalist and led the league in saves percentage last season (.934). Yet, Bishop is 32 and has a lengthy injury history too.
The Stars are -240 on “yes” to the question as to whether they’ll make the playoffs at 888Sport. And, they should.
But are they built for the long haul? With so much age and worry about injuries, they’re a high-risk bet at best.