The fantasy season is upon us. Another year of tears of joy and heartbreak.
To help you along, here’s your fantasy outlook for the Dallas Stars.
2022-23 Fantasy Outlook: Dallas Stars
Last season: 46-30-6, 4th Central, 15th overall. GF: 21st, GA: 14th, PP: 11th, PK: 19th.
Scoring was and continues to be a problem for the Stars. Despite Jason Robertson becoming just the third Star in the cap era to score at least 40 goals and Joe Pavelski having a career year in his age-37 season, they’re still a low-scoring team and improved only slightly from 2.79 GF/GP to 2.84 GF/GP. They were the only playoff team with a negative goal differential at minus-8, and the second time in the past six seasons it’s been in the red. And they barely snuck into the playoffs, too, finishing 3-4-1 in October with Roope Hintz scoring one point, but righted the ship thereafter with an excellent home record and an easy slate in the final week (Seattle, Anaheim, Vegas, Arizona) to finish the season. They were major underdogs in their first-round matchup against the Flames, and the only reason it went the distance was Jake Oettinger’s .954 Sv% and 1.81 GAA even though he faced nearly 41 shots per game, the fourth-highest average in the playoffs in the cap era.
The Stars’ cap situation forced them to lay low during free agency, adding only Mason Marchment, who scored at a 71-point pace last season with the Panthers and either a late bloomer or a flash in the pan, and depth defensemen Colin Miller and Will Butcher. However, there may be some addition by subtraction with Alexander Radulov, John Klingberg and Braden Holtby excised from the roster; they were either inconsistent or too old, and cost $12.5 million in cap space. True, Tyler Seguin and Jamie Benn’s hefty contracts remain on the books, but the 2022-23 Stars should have a very different feel. The Stars will focus on Robertson and the underrated Hintz as their cornerstones, and new head coach Peter DeBoer will opt for more a free-flowing play that should allow for more offense.
Best fantasy option: Roope Hintz, C
Robertson is an obvious target in the early rounds in most leagues with his 40-goal potential, but note he’s not a high-volume shooter and offers little in peripheral categories. That leaves Hintz, who is projected to finish second in team scoring with 75 points in THN’s Pool Guide, as the other top option.
Center is a deep position, which is good because it means Hintz could fall into the middle rounds and potentially make him a fantastic value pick with his first-line upside. Over the past two seasons, Hintz is averaging 0.95 P/GP, which ranks 32nd in the league among forwards (min. 100 GP) and comparable to Mika Zibanejad (0.96) and Elias Lindholm (0.93), both of whom are slated to get drafted earlier than Hintz. If the Stars can generate more consistent offense and shoot the puck more often – they ranked 19th in S/GP last season and sat back on leads all the time – Hintz has 40-goal potential with an elite career 15.3 S%.
Hidden gem: Mason Marchment, LW/RW
The sample size is tiny – just 54 games at 14:07 TOI/GP and less than 50 total minutes on the power play – but the numbers are very, very intriguing. Pro-rated, Marchment was on pace for 27 goals and 71 points on 183 shots with a plus-44 rating and 173 hits. He would’ve ranked in the top 50 in scoring, top 30 in hits and also had the best plus-minus on the team. He looks like the next coming of banger-league beast Tom Wilson, but like the Stars’ $18 million commitment, it will take a leap of faith. He has the bloodlines – his father, Bryan, was a bruising defenseman who played 17 seasons in the NHL – but not the experience nor the customary fanfare of a top young player. He was undrafted and played two seasons in the minors before earning an ELC with the Leafs, and played well but never won any major individual awards. His breakout season came on the heels of an explosive offensive team, and time will tell if both Marchment and the Stars made the right decision after he spurned the Hurricanes at the 11th hour.
Did you know that otters can eat up to one-third of their body weight per day and also a keystone species? But instead of eating sea urchins and keeping kelp forests safe, Oettinger eats pucks and makes sure nothing gets past the goal line. The U.S. is churning out excellent young ‘tenders on a regular basis now and Oettinger is quickly climbing to the top after two very strong seasons (combined 41-23-8/.913/2.46) and one of the best performances by a goalie in a single playoff series against the Flames.
According to naturalstattrick.com, Oettinger saved 1.66 goals per 60 minutes (all strengths) more than the average goalie in the playoffs, and despite playing only one series had the second-highest total GSAA at 11.90, second only to Igor Shesterkin’s 11.91 and well ahead of third-place Andrei Vasilevskiy’s 6.71. Oettinger’s workload should be immense this season, and barring a huge dip in performance, should rank in the top 10 with the potential to finish in the top five among fantasy goalies. DeBoer’s system will likely lead to more shots allowed, and in turn perhaps more goals allowed and a lower save percentage, but the Stars are a playoff contender and that should help Oettinger easily win at least 30 games.
How the Stars respond to DeBoer, who has a history of winning a lot of games in his first season with a new club, will determine if they’re a bubble playoff team or a dark-horse contender. They’re still a top-heavy team, according to THN’s Pool Guide, with Robertson (91) and Hintz (75) projected to be the only players to eclipse 70 points with a smattering of 40-50 points players, including Seguin, Benn and Marchment.
One player who could really smash expectations is Miro Heiskanen, who is now the undisputed No. 1 on their blue line following Klingberg’s departure, and with enough power play time could set career highs across the board. If the Stars want to move into a higher tier, they’ll need their young prospects to make a similar leap to Robertson’s, and there are three names worth mentioning: budding offensive defenseman Thomas Harley, OHL most outstanding player Wyatt Johnston and WHL player of the year Logan Stankoven.