Stars announce Lindy Ruff won't return as coach

FRISCO, Texas -- The Dallas Stars parted ways with Lindy Ruff on Sunday, a move that was largely expected with the coach's contract expiring.

"I want to personally thank Lindy for his commitment and professionalism over the four years that he served as our head coach in Dallas," Stars general manager Jim Nill said in a statement. "Lindy is not only a highly respected coach, he more importantly is a great person and an outstanding family man whom I have the utmost respect for on and off the ice."

After winning the Central Division last year, the Stars missed the playoffs this season, with early-season injuries, poor defensive play and shaky goaltending doing the team in.

Behind goalies Kari Lehtonen and Antti Niemi, the Stars had the second-worst goals-against average in the NHL this season. Their goal differential was almost a full goal worse than last season -- from plus-0.45 in 2015-16 to minus-0.46 in 2016-17.

Ruff lasted four seasons in Dallas after a 15-year run in Buffalo. Last year's team was his most successful in Dallas -- with 109 points -- but the Stars lost in the second round of the playoffs.

The Stars will now begin the process of finding a replacement for Ruff, who was hired in June 2013.