I don't think there has been a bigger question surrounding the Stars than the goaltending issue. Where do the Stars stand on the goalie front, and what are expectations for Lehtonen and Niemi?
The Stars are paying their goalies $11 million dollars. That level of commitment more or less says what the expectations are. They should get above average goaltending most nights regardless of who is in net. Antti Niemi started the first two games before moving out of the way for Kari Lehtonen. Kari has looked good lately, and if the Stars continue to roll with the hot hand we may see him for a while.
After (or maybe even before) goaltending, the Stars question marks have been on defense. Shutting out Pittsburgh was a nice indication that things have improved, but question marks now surround the Penguins offense. Was bringing in Johnny Oduya enough to improve the unit, and how are they shaping up for this season?
It's not just Oduya. The forwards have long had difficulty supporting the defense as they leave the zone which has only made the problems even more glaring. Patrick Sharp and Mattias Janmark have helped a lot in that area. Janmark has been a revelation with a solid three zone game and unexpected passing ability.
As the season wore on last year the team defense was much better. Jordie Benn and Jason Demers are both fairly underrated. It isn't an overly physical group, but they play intelligently. When the Stars play as a team and don't resort to running and gunning they can play a little defense.
As a fellow "Sunbelt team" we get asked the question all the time, how is fan support? Unlike many who are asking the question, we hope that Dallas is thriving, so I'll ask it this way: Are the Stars going to be fun to watch this season, and if so, what in particular will make it that way?
Exciting teams will draw support anywhere. You won't be able to find a much more exciting team than the Stars. They're going to play a lot of high scoring games, and probably win a decent amount more than they lose. If they play 3-on-3 much, they'll be the most exciting team in the league. Tyler Seguin and Jamie Benn are worth the price of admission alone.
LBC would like to thank Josh for taking the time to chat with us. Check out Defending Big D for more Cats - Stars pregame.