After 43 games, the Dallas Stars sit four points out of a playoff spot in the Western Conference. Following the All-Star break, they will play 39 games in 78 days, including the next eight against the Central Division. Essentially, the second half could see everything come together and the Stars make a playoff spot or more of the same seeing them finishing on the outside, looking in. Here are my bold predictions for what will happen in the final 39 games of the Stars season.
Tyler Seguin Will Reach 35 Goals
While the rise has been slow, Tyler Seguin has been improving with every passing game this season. Following major knee and hip surgeries in 2020, he has taken time to rebuild his physical and mental strength while learning to trust his body.
With that trust, has come glimpses of his past ability. After only recording 10 points over the first 28 games, Seguin has tallied 10 over the last eight games, including a three-point night against the Boston Bruins.
Seguin should only get better as the season goes along. Returning to center on a line with Jamie Benn and Denis Gurianov should be exactly what he needs to break out even further.
Don’t forget that he is only 30 years old. While his production has not been the same over the past few seasons, he is more than capable of returning to his superstar status. I believe he will.
John Klingberg Will Be Traded Regardless Of Playoff Position
The prediction of John Klingberg being traded is not a bold one. The defenseman is set to become a free agent this summer, Dallas is in a tough spot to try to extend his contract, and he has spoken about the lack of progress in negotiations during the season. The bold part of this is the fact that I believe he will be traded regardless of where the Stars stand in the playoff picture.
Being around the team over the last couple of months, there is a visible difference in Klingberg’s game. Not only has he lacked the offensive creativity and production but he has consistently shown lapses in his focus, resulting in poor turnovers or mistakes. Overall, it feels like he has a massive weight on his shoulders stopping him from being himself or reaching his full potential.
With the likely return that Dallas would see in a trade, they would be smart to find a trade partner (IF they do not plan on signing him to an extension this summer). In my opinion, the only way that he sticks around all season is if the Stars are confident they can reach a deal in the summer.
Roope Hintz Will Be a 40-Goal Scorer
Roope Hintz has had another excellent season in 2021-22. After averaging over one point per game last season while playing through a severe groin injury, the Finnish forward has 37 points (20G, 17A) in 41 games this season. Playing on the top line with Joe Pavelski (19G, 29A) and Jason Robertson (17G, 24A) has accelerated his growth and given Hintz the ability to make a difference every night.
I believe he has another level to get to. In the second half, Hintz will dominate play as he did last season. He will reach the 40-goal mark for the first time in his career and cement his place among the top offensive players and two-way centers in the world.
Dallas Will Secure a Top-3 Seed In the Central
Finally, a bold prediction for the team overall. The Stars have been teetering on the edge all season long. They seem to be one step from hitting their stride, as we saw on their seven-game winning streak, and one step from freefall and a potential rebuilding process. I believe they will hit their stride in the second half of the season.
Dallas begins their push with eight straight games against the Central Division. There is no better way to gain ground in the standings than playing head-to-head with those teams you are chasing. The Stars have very little control over the teams in the Pacific Division but with 14 games remaining against their own division, they have the ability to make up ground in a hurry. I believe they will do exactly that, reaching the top three in the division and safely landing in a playoff spot.
Do you think these predictions will come true? Share your thoughts below!
Sam Nestler is a credentialed Dallas Stars contributor for the ‘The Hockey Writers’. Growing up in New Jersey, Sam has been playing hockey since he was 7 years old. Developing a love for writing in college, Sam uses his hockey knowledge to create analyses and articles on every aspect of the game. Sam also hosts his own podcast on Spotify, the “Slapshot Sammy’ podcast, breaking down action across the Stars, the NHL, and college hockey. Check out the podcast here, and give his latest article a read!