ESPN.com's Scott Burnside and Pierre LeBrun handed out their midseason grades for the 30 NHL teams today. The Dallas Stars get an "A" for their efforts through the first half of the season.
Only two teams - Vancouver and Philadelphia - graded higher. Both the Cancucks and Flyers recieved an A-plus.
The Stars and Detroit Red Wings were next with grades of A.
LeBrun handled the Western Conference write up and had this to say about the Stars:
The Stars were 24-13-4 through 41 games, easily the most stunning development in the West through the first half. GM Joe Nieuwendyk's gamble on Kari Lehtonen in goal so far is paying off, and he made an aggressive move to pick up veteran winger Jamie Langenbrunner from the New Jersey Devils last week. Nieuwendyk has seen enough of his surprising team to believe it's not going to drop off in the second half, and we agree. Brad Richards has been sensational, which only adds to Nieuwendyk's predicament with the UFA-to-be. Hopefully that storyline won't overshadow a terrific story so far in the Lone Star State.
The full list of grades and comments on all 30 NHL teams are here.