Dallas Stars’ 4 New Year’s Resolutions in 2022

It was a quiet end of 2021 for the Dallas Stars. They haven’t played a game since Dec. 20, as several of their players and staff have been placed on COVID protocol. And while their next game is still on schedule, uncertain times mean that anything can change before then. 

But as the Stars ring in the New Year and aim to finish their 2021-22 season strong, they can add a couple of resolutions to their list in order to rack up some wins and climb up the central division standings. The team had a slightly inconsistent December but are still pushing for a playoff spot in the new year. 

Perhaps they will have a chance to do just that with a couple of New Years Resolutions to follow through with, if they ever happen to play a regulation game again. 

A Healthy, COVID-Free Stars Roster

The Stars roster was one of the few in the NHL that was entirely healthy during the first half of the season. But with a new wave of COVID-19 forcing the league to postpone many of the games, they haven’t seen a game since their 7-4 win over the Minnesota Wild on Dec. 20. 

As of Dec. 27, there are several players and support staff on the COVID-protocol list.

Their next game was supposed to be against the Arizona Coyotes on Jan. 2, but that has since been postponed. As of right now, they are set to play a home game against the Florida Panthers on Jan. 6. They’ve been practicing to stay sharp for when they eventually hit game ice again, in the hopes they won’t lose their groove amidst all the uncertainty. 

“When the time comes, it’s going to be important for the guys who are skating right now to carry the load out of the gate.”

– Stars forward Jamie Benn

For the players who are in COVID protocol, their job is to get healthy and recover as quickly as they can. For those that are healthy, it is their job to be even stronger when the team hits home ice this coming week. 

More From the Stars’ Regular Top Scorers

While Stars captain Jamie Benn had a slow start to his season, he has found consistency in his game since being recently reunited with his old linemate, Tyler Seguin. The top line of Roope Hintz, Joe Pavelski and Jason Robertson has been lighting up the ice ever since they all became linemates. But other top players for the Stars have not had a similar fate. In fact, Seguin is one of them, along with other top players like Alexander Radulov and Denis Guiranov, to name just a few. Joel Kiviranta, too, hasn’t been putting up the numbers you’d expect him to, with not a single goal yet this season. 

Joel Kiviranta Dallas Stars-Dallas Stars' 4 New Year's Resolutions in 2022
Joel Kiviranta, Dallas Stars. (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

Seguin and Radulov have been working hard and driving for the puck as best they can since the season began, but their points still remain less than impressive, sitting with eight goals and one goal, respectively. Guiranov only has four goals and isn’t showing the same initiative as his teammates. And with Kiviranta having not scored, it seems like everyone is in their seasonal slump. 

Related: 5 Stars Who May Not Be Back Next Season

While the top line has been delivering, they can’t be expected to carry the whole team. Therefore, other big Stars names need to step up their offensive game as the middle of the season comes to an end. 

Klingberg and Lindell Have to Up Their Defense and Offense

John Klingberg and Esa Lindell are two usual top defensemen who haven’t shown their defensive or offensive sides to their fullest potential yet this season. It is surprising for Klingberg, in particular, who is used to putting up several goals by mid-season and being a strong forward-playing defenseman. But as one of the better-known faces of the franchise, he isn’t pulling his weight in 2021-22, with only one goal and 13 assists. 

Lindell is in a similar situation, with also only one goal and five assists and should be showing up more on both fronts. Both of them need to put in more effort if they expect to stay in Texas next season, especially since Klingberg is due to become an unrestricted free agent by the end of the season. 

John Klingberg Stars-Dallas Stars' 4 New Year's Resolutions in 2022
John Klingberg. Photo: Michael Connell/Texas Stars Hockey

There are some defensemen who have been strong on the blue line for the Stars this season, including Ryan Suter and Miro Heiskanen. But the latter is also not putting up the numbers you’d expect him to, and he isn’t proving to be the underrated blueliner that the team knows him to be. Heiskanen is another face of the franchise that may need to prove he deserves to stay in Dallas.

Stars Need Confidence For Second Half of Season

Ultimately, there are some things that are out of the team’s control, like players getting sick or games getting postponed. But the Stars can’t let this break in the season shatter their confidence. Yes, some of their top players are down for the count right now, and even though their next game is still scheduled to go, there’s a chance it may get postponed again. The team can’t let the uncertainty of it all affect their focus. 

The Stars can be one of those teams that gets a good thing going, only to have it ruined by a poor loss or a blip in consistency. With top players like Benn, Hintz and Roberston, among others, out with COVID, Dallas will have to rely on players who haven’t been pulling their weight and call up players from the minors, giving them an opportunity to shine. The team isn’t ready to give up yet.

“This is a resilient bunch, I know that, so I expect them to react well. Players have dealt with it in the past. Our guys have been through this.”

Stars general manager Jim Nill

If they can make their ultimate New Year’s Resolution to continue to push forward and face adversity, they could end up being the underdogs and turning their season around without a second to spare. 

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