Central Division 2014-15 Preview: Dallas Stars

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2014-15 NHL season preview: Central Division
Friday September 26th, 2014

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Lindy Ruff

2013-14 RECORD: 40-31-11, 91 points (fifth in Central, wild card; lost to Ducks, 4-2, in first round)

VITAL SIGNS: 2.82 goals per game (10th); 2.72 goals-against per game (17th); 15.9 power play pct. (23rd); 81.4 penalty kill pct. (21st); shootout record: 4-5 (24th)

NOTABLE ARRIVALS: C Jason Spezza, RW Patrick Eaves, G Anders Lindback, RW Ales Hemsky

NOTABLE DEPARTURES: RW Alex Chiasson, LW Ray Whitney, C Dustin Jeffrey

PROJECTED DEPTH CHART

Forwards
Jamie Benn — Tyler Seguin — Valeri Nichushkin
Erik Cole — Jason Spezza — Ales Hemsky
Antoine Roussel — Cody Eakin — Ryan Garbutt
Shawn Horcoff — Vernon Fiddler — Colton Sceviour

Defensemen
Alex Goligoski -— Trevor Daley
Brenden Dillon — Jordie Benn
Sergei Gonchar — Kevin Connauton

Goalies
Kari Lehtonen
Anders Lindback

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• How much will Lehtonen's preseason injury affect the Stars?

Valeri Nichushkin

The tenth overall pick in the 2013 draft had his share of highlights during his rookie season, scoring 14 goals and 24 points in 79 games, but he struggled to adapt to North American-sized ice, players and life. With a full season on his resumé and plenty of veteran forwards to help speed up Nichushkin's adjustment, Ruff has high hopes for the big Russian, who could hit his stride early on and never look back.

• How Stars will make ... or miss the playoffs

PREDICTION: 100 points; third in Central 

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