2024 Dallas Stars Playoff Preview

Stanley cup sticker on Dallas Stars players helmet
Stanley cup sticker on Dallas Stars players helmet | Image by Dallas Stars/Facebook

The Dallas Stars begin their hunt for the Stanley Cup and their first-round playoff series against the Vegas Golden Knights on Monday night at the American Airlines Center.

The Stars won the Western Conference regular-season title and will be the No.1 seed as they face the team that eliminated them from the playoffs last season. Vegas is the defending Stanley Cup Champion, and Dallas is seeking its second Stanley Cup in franchise history, which it has been working to achieve since the offseason.

“I think ever since September, that’s kind of been the thing,” forward Jason Robertson told The Dallas Express. “Every time you get closer to the playoffs, you start to realize how important those words we said in September are, and we’re excited.”

Here are the players and coaches who will try to bring the Cup to Dallas for the first time since 1999:

Defenseman Jani Hakanpaa (#2)

Hakanpaa is in his third year with Dallas. While he has missed some games due to injury this season, he has remained a consistent contributor when healthy and in the lineup.

Defenseman Chris Tanev (#3)

The Stars traded for Tanev at the trade deadline, and he has helped solidify the defense pairings, teaming up with Esa Lindell on the second defense pair. He’s played in 41 career playoff games, which should help a team with multiple young defensemen in the lineup.

Defenseman Miro Heiskanen (#4)

Heiskanen is one of the most gifted defensemen in the NHL and highlights the Dallas blueline. He is the only Dallas defenseman with more than 50 points this season, logging them in 71 games.

Defenseman Nils Lundkvist (#5)

Lundkvist has played in 119 regular-season games for the Stars over the last two years and plays on the third defense pairing with veteran Ryan Suter. He has never appeared in a playoff game.

Center Ty Dellandrea (#10)

The Stars’ 2018 first-round draft pick has been in and out of the lineup all season due to the overall increased depth. He had the best year of his early career last season but will likely continue to see matchups dictate his playing time.

Center Logan Stankoven (#11)

Stankoven was called up from the Texas Stars of the American Hockey League in March and has provided an offensive spark on the third line. He was recently named to the First AHL All-Star Team and had 14 points in 24 games with the NHL club.

Center Radek Faksa (#12)

The fourth-line center has spent his entire career in Dallas and does his job as a defensive-minded forward well, often earning consideration for the Selke Trophy.

Forward Jamie Benn (#14)

The captain of the Stars is also the longest-tenured member of the team. He has come up with many accolades and milestones in recent seasons but is still looking to win a Stanley Cup.

Center Craig Smith (#15)

One of the additions in the offseason, Smith shuffles in on the third and fourth lines.

Center Joe Pavelski (#16)

Pavelski is one of the veterans with plenty of playoff experience and accolades in his career. The only thing he still needs is a Stanley Cup.

Center Sam Steel (#18)

Steel joined the team in the offseason and amassed 24 points as part of the fourth line.

Defenseman Ryan Suter (#20)

Suter is the most experienced defenseman on the team, having played 19 NHL seasons. He has spent most of his career as a top-pair defenseman, but since coming to Dallas, he has taken more of a leadership role on the third pair.

Forward Jason Robertson (#21)

Robertson’s 80 points are the most on the team, and he has quickly developed into an offensive star. While he struggled early in the playoffs last season, he’ll be looking for opportunities to quickly dispel that this time around.

Defenseman Esa Lindell (#23)

The nine-year veteran plays with Tanev on the second defense pair. He’s always been known as an excellent defender and just put up one of his best offensive seasons in terms of point totals.

Center Roope Hintz (#24)

Hintz is one of Dallas’ catalysts on offense, scoring at least 30 goals in each of the last three seasons. As the first-line center between Robertson and Pavelski, he’ll continue to get plenty of opportunities throughout the postseason.

Forward Mason Marchment (#27)

Marchment had a career year with 53 points and only missed one game. His emergence has increased Dallas’s lineup’s depth and helped solidify the Stars as a contender.

Goalie Jake Oettinger (#29)

Oettinger has been one of the top goalies in the league over the past few seasons despite a bit of a slow start this year. He is coming off one of his best performances of the year against the St. Louis Blues and will look to help carry the Stars through the playoffs.

Goalie Scott Wedgewood (#41)

Wedgewood has played well in relief of Oettinger, including a long stretch in December and January where the starter was injured.

Forward Wyatt Johnston (#53)

Johnston followed a sensational rookie campaign with an impressive sophomore season. Head coach Pete DeBoer mentioned the importance of Johnston avoiding the proverbial “sophomore slump,” and he aced the test with 65 points, including a team-leading 32 goals.

Defenseman Thomas Harley (#55)

The 22-year-old completes the first defense pair next to Heiskanane and had 47 points in his first full NHL season.

Forward Evgenii Dadonov (#63)

Dadonov missed a chunk of the season with a lower-body fracture but figures to be a crucial component of the Stars’ playoff run. Both he and DeBoer have claimed he plays better in the postseason.

Center Tyler Seguin (#91)

Seguin is in his 11th season with the Stars and was one of six players on the team with at least 25 goals this season.

Center Matt Duchene (#95)

Duchene was the most significant off-season addition to the team. He is tied for third on the team with 65 points, has scored 25 goals, and, most importantly, brings a veteran leadership component that includes 32 playoff games.

Head Coach — Pete DeBoer

DeBoer is in his second season as head coach in Dallas after previous stops in Vegas, San Jose, New Jersey, and Florida. He took the Stars to the Western Conference Final in his first season — the fourth trip to the conference final of his career — and has been to the Stanley Cup Final twice but never won a title.

Assistant Coach — Steve Spott

Spott is in his second season in Dallas and has spent much of his career on DeBoer’s staff in Vegas, San Jose, and the Ontario Hockey League (OHL). He was also briefly the head coach of the AHL’s Toronto Marlies.

Assistant Coach — Alain Nasreddine

Nasreddine is a former player who has previous coaching stops in the AHL and with the New Jersey Devils. He is also in his second season in Dallas.

Assistant Coach — Misha Donskov

Donskov joined the Dallas staff before this season after spending time with the Vegas Golden Knights. He initially served as the director of hockey operations before moving into a coaching role.

Goaltending Coach — Jeff Reese

Reese has been with the Stars since 2015. He previously coached for the Philadelphia Flyers and Tampa Bay Lightning and won a Stanley Cup with Tampa in 2004.

Skills Coach — Stan Tugolukov

Tugolukov has been in charge of player development and post-injury conditioning for the Stars for the past 10 years.

Head Video Coach — Patrick Dolan

Dolan was promoted from assistant video coach before the season and had several previous stops throughout the AHL and USHL.

Assistant Video Coach — Chris Demczuk

Demczuk spent last season as the video coach for the Texas Stars and has held previous roles in the AHL and college hockey.

Skating Coach — Luke Chilcott

Chilcoot is in his second year in Dallas and focuses on skating techniques to make player performance more efficient.

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