Scott Burnside of ESPN.com has completed his preview of the NHL's Pacific Division, and he believes the Dallas Stars have what it takes to contend for a playoff spot this season. A snippet of his analysis:
GM Joe Nieuwendyk has taken a significant gamble that former top draft pick Kari Lehtonen can get the job done in goal even though he has a history of back problems and failing to stay in shape. Still, the Stars have a nice collection of emerging young forwards like Loui Eriksson, Jamie Benn and James Neal, which should keep them in the hunt. Adam Burish comes over from Chicago to add some grit, and it will be interesting to see what becomes of Fabian Brunnstrom -- the much-heralded Swedish free agent of a couple years back who has never quite hit his stride at the NHL level. Although the blue line remains a work in progress, the Stars have enough pieces to challenge for a playoff spot, at least they better if coach Marc Crawford wants to hang on to his job.