LAST SEASON 36-35-11 (12th in West)
KEY ADDITIONS G Alex Auld, D Karlis Skrastins, Coach Marc Crawford
KEY LOSSES LW Steve Begin, RW Chris Conner, C Brendan Morrison, D Darryl Sydor, D Sergei Zubov, Coach Dave Tippett
The first significant move Joe Nieuwendyk made after taking over as G.M. of the Stars in May was to dismiss longtime coach Dave Tippett and appoint the sometimes tempestuous Marc Crawford. The new coach immediately ditched the Stars' cautious defensive style for a system that opens up the ice and relies on defensemen to activate the rush.
"Everyone's curious to see how we'll play," says goalie Marty Turco, who last year missed the playoffs for just the second time in his eight seasons with Dallas. "This is a completely different coaching staff with a different view of the game."
Roster changes have been few, but the Stars should benefit from relative health (they were second in the West in man games lost), especially with captain Brenden Morrow (above) recovered from right-knee surgery. Sergei Zubov, who even at age 39 would have jibed well with Crawford's approach, bolted for the KHL. That leaves the rest of the defensemen with the challenge of finding out if they can learn, so to speak, on the fly.
LAST SEASON 36-39-7 (13th in West)