We are well beyond Halloween, are fast approaching American Thanksgiving, and the Dallas Stars continue to rack up points, wins and should be impressing the borderline hockey fan.
The Stars are currently tied for the NHL lead in 30 points. Of the many things that have gone right for this team - start by looking at the goalie tandem of Kari Lehtonen and Antti Niemi - the production of defenseman John Klingberg and forwards Tyler Seguin and Jamie Benn is extraordinary.
Seguin leads the NHL in assists; Klingberg is second.
Benn is second in the NHL in goals; Seguin is fourth.
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Seguin is second in the NHL in scoring; Benn is third and Klingberg is eighth.
When Stars owner Tom Gaglardi looks over his team, he readily concedes that having these three “hit” was merely a matter of good fortune.
“They’re the three steals for this team,” he said as he recently watched the team practice at the American Airlines Center. “We really got lucky with them.”
The acquisition of Seguin from the Boston Bruins ranks second only behind this team’s dealing of Kevin Hatcher in exchange for All-Star defenseman Sergei Zubov in 1996 as the best trade in franchise history.
Seguin was the second overall pick of the Bruins in the 2010 NHL entry draft. His production, even if it came after a trade, was projected.
The good fortune is where the Dallas Stars found perhaps the best player in the NHL and one of the best young defenseman in the league - both Benn and Klingberg were fifth round draft picks.
“That doesn’t happen very often,” Gaglardi said.
“We got lucky twice in the fifth round. Benn was already here when I got here and I knew we had a star in him. We got lucky in Klingberg,” Gaglardi said.
Sometimes middle of the road, or bottom of the roster, players are found in the fifth round. Seldom are legit All-Star players found in the fifth round. And it nearly never happens twice for the same team just four years apart. Benn has already been named first-team all-NHL, something not even Mike Modano accomplished, and Klingberg should be an All-Star.
For a team whose personnel and scouting department had taken a beating in recent years for failed drafts and missed high picks, hitting on this pair was a badly needed coup.
The Stars’ early season success is not just this trio, but clearly they are the best and most productive players on what so far is the NHL’s best team.