Dobber's offseason fantasy hockey grades – Dallas Stars
For the last 16 years (12 with The Hockey News) Dobber has reviewed each team from a fantasy-hockey standpoint and graded them.
The 17th annual review will appear here on DobberHockey throughout the summer. This is not a review of the likely performance on the ice or in the standings, but in the realm of fantasy hockey.
Impact of changes – The Stars added a lot of experience but don’t be fooled by the big names. Perry is a shadow of his former self while Sekera has missed so much time due to injury that the Oilers had to put him out there against the other team’s weakest competition in order for him to be effective. Pavelski is coming off a 38-goal season but he scored a lot of them early on (16 in 25 games) with an extraordinarily-high shooting percentage that indicated much more puck luck than usual. He ended the campaign with a minus-11 rating and three goals in his final 12 games. And in the playoffs he suffered a concussion. He’s 35 and the Stars signed him for four years. That could be painful by Year 3.
But for this year only, this could be looked at as an upgrade. Not just on the ice, but in the dressing room. This has become an aging team with what I think will be a one- or two-year window to win, unless prospect Jason Robertson can blossom into a star relatively quick.
Ready for full-time – Jason Robertson took over the OHL last season. The 39th overall pick in 2017 upped his points production from 87 in 68 games to… 117 in 62. That led the entire CHL. He was also dominant for Team USA at last year’s WJC en route to a Silver. He’ll probably get a couple of cups of coffee this year and play mostly in the AHL, but his upside is very high and all it takes is a smooth transition to the pro game coupled with an injury to someone on the roster and he could see an extended and productive stint. Read more on Robertson here.
Denis Gurianov had a much-improved season as a second-year pro, shoring up some holes in the defensive side of his game while pushing his AHL production closer to the point-per-game mark. He also got into 21 games with Dallas, indicating that he should see more this year. He doesn’t need to clear waivers for one more year so I have him for half a season in the year ahead.
Joel L’Esperance the undrafted former college player has found offense in the AHL that he never had with Michigan Tech. Last season he scored 30 goals and 45 points in 54 games as a rookie for Texas, even getting into 18 games with Dallas (two assists). While the scoring touch is nice, and certainly helps his chances, he stands to become more of a role player if and when he finally does make the jump. You can read more on L’Esperance here.
The Stars also added a pair of undrafted European signings in the spring. Joel Kiviranta (23, winger, from Finland) and Emil Djuse (25, defenseman, from Sweden) and both will get looks in training camp. But I suspect they will spend the year in the AHL and are only depth options at this point.
Dallas Stars prospect depth chart and fantasy upsides can be found here (not yet ready for mobile viewing, desktop only right now)
Fantasy Outlook – Solid, but aging goaltending. Solid, but aging forwards. Really good, mostly young defensemen. Not the greatest prospect pipeline out there, but not a horrible one. That’s Dallas in a nutshell. I know that there should be lots to like about this year’s team, but for some reason I just don’t feel good about it. Perhaps it’s because I have grown so sour on Perry. Perhaps it’s the shock of being reminded that the great young prospect I once owned and loved – Alexander Radulov – is now 33 years old. Maybe it’s the decline of Jamie Benn, who hasn’t been the same player since all those hip surgeries. Or John Klingberg, one of my favorite defensemen, coming off a hand injury that cost him 18 games. And if I can’t get on board with this year’s team (I’m trying! Believe me!), I certainly can’t get on board with the future. But then I think of Miro Heiskanen, and how he will become a franchise defenseman very soon. And what if Klingberg is fine and that was just a one-off? What if Pavelski has three good years left in him instead of two? What if Robertson overcomes his skating question marks and is a legit star? Well, then I feel better about things. Lots of ifs here though.
Fantasy Grade: B- (last year was B-)
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2019 Offseason Fantasy Hockey Grades