5 questions facing the Stars this offseason: Will Jamie Benn bounce back from one of his least productive seasons?

The Dallas Morning News’ Matthew DeFranks takes a look at the Stars after the 2018-19 season. Here, he breaks down five burning questions about the team heading into the offseason:

1. How do the Stars remake their top two lines?

The Stars, one of the most top-heavy teams in the league a season ago, found balance in the lineup toward the end of this season with the emergence of Roope Hintz as a second-line center and the acquisition of Mats Zuccarello as a dynamic playmaker. Now Zuccarello is a free agent and without re-signing him (or adding another scorer), the Stars could be relying too much on their top players again.

2. Who plays with Miro Heiskanen next season?

Heiskanen was one of the team’s best players this season as just a 19-year-old rookie and did so despite lacking a true top-four defenseman as a partner. Stephen Johns would have been a great partner for Heiskanen but missed the entire season with post-traumatic headaches. Marc Methot played nine games before knee surgery, and Roman Polak assumed the role of Heiskanen’s partner. Polak is a free agent now, and Heiskanen could take a step forward next year with a new partner.

3. How does Jamie Benn bounce back?

The Stars captain had his worst season (by points) since he was a 20-year-old rookie with just 53 points this season, even though he scored 27 goals. Benn will be 30 years old next season, and you have to wonder if a power forward that plays the style Benn does is starting to decline. But Benn is a competitor and will be motivated next season to prove that this was a one-year fluke and not the start of a trend with six years left on his contract.

4. What does Jim Montgomery’s team
look like in his second year?

Montgomery had a solid debut season in the NHL, preaching a puck-pressure and puck-possession style that he amended during the season to focus more and more on pressure, better fitting the Stars’ personnel. The offense came toward the end of the season, and the Stars should avoid early-season growing pains that they endured this season in Montgomery’s second season behind the bench.

5. Can the goaltenders duplicate
their performances?

Ben Bishop and Anton Khudobin were arguably the best goaltending duo in the league this season (along with the Islanders and Bruins), with Bishop leading the NHL in save percentage and Khudobin eighth. Bishop set career highs in a variety of categories and Khudobin played a career-high 41 games. If Bishop and Khudobin regress, how successful can the Stars be, especially if their offense is the third-worst in the league again?

Dallas Stars season wrap-up

The good, bad and ugly: Heiskanen impresses; Lites rips Benn, Seguin

3 players in the Stars’ system who may be ready to make the leap to the NHL

5 burning offseason questions: Will Benn bounce back from one of his least productive seasons?

6 contract decisions facing the Stars this offseason, including postseason playmakers and multiple defensemen

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