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The Hockey News: Stars Will Finish 13th In West

The Hockey News has made their season predictions for the 2011-2012 NHL season, and they're not predicting progress for the Dallas Stars. THN has picked Dallas to finish even deeper in the lottery range - 13th overall in the Western Conference and 4th in the Pacific Division (ahead of the Coyotes). They're not confident of the defense improving, Kari Lehtonen staying healthy or the team being able to find enough offense to replace Brad Richards.

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The team lost Brad Richards to free agency and didn't replace him (the best pick up they had was Michael Ryder). Loui Eriksson should continue his rise to stardom, but Dallas needs Jamie Benn to step up offensively if they hope to exceed expectations.

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If Kari Lehtonen can stay healthy for another season it will only help the Stars, but that's hardly a scenario to count on.

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The defense is a little suspect and the acquisition of Sheldon Souray only bolsters that point.

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In the Stars' defense, Alex Goligoski only played 23 games for Dallas, so he should make a much larger impact on the power play and puck moving in the upcoming season. THN seems to take the dire side of every Stars coin, including their multitude of quiet offseason additions.

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Photographs by jamesbrandon, jdtornow, phlezk, flygraphix, mcdlttx, tomasland, and literalbarrage used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.