Will this team get sold anytime soon?
Probably not soon, but eventually. Potential buyers Bill Gallacher and Tom Gaglardi have done their due diligence and appear ready to get into serious negotiations, but the financial bodies who are a big part of the sale of the Stars (as well as the NHL) are hoping to push the price up. At some point, economic pressures will force the sale to be completed. As it is, however, the Stars are operating on a internal budget of $45 million (with an NHL salary cap of $59.4 million) and are unable to make major acquisitions that could improve the team.
Can the Stars re-sign Brad Richards?
Richards tied his career best with 91 points last season, finishing seventh in the NHL in scoring, and can become an unrestricted free agent next summer. He makes $7.8 million this season and has plenty of good seasons left after just turning 30, so he will command a high salary. But the Stars can't start serious contract negotiation talks with Richards until a new owner is in place. Could the team eventually have to move him before the trade deadline? It's certainly a possibility.
Is the team still committed to an up-tempo, offensively aggressive system that new GM Joe Nieuwendyk and new head coach Marc Crawford tried to install last season?
Yes and no. The Stars still want to be a puck possession team that attacks through the neutral zone, but they know that they have to do a better job playing team defense and taking care of the details of the game. In addition, Nieuwendyk tried to get tougher by adding players such as
Adam Burish in the summer. Management is hoping for better balance this season.
Is Kari Lehtonen ready to take over in goal?
The Stars jettisoned Marty Turco at the end of last season and handed Lehtonen a three-year contract extension, so he'd better be ready. Lehtonen has battled injuries throughout his career, but he had two back surgeries last year and appears to have fully recovered. He had a great off-season of workouts and will probably look to start between 55-60 games.
How much will the Stars miss Mike Modano and Marty Turco?
Possibly more than either will miss the Stars. With Modano in Detroit and Turco in Chicago, each could have a chance to battle for the Stanley Cup this season. Lehtonen will turn 27 in November and replaces the 35-year-old Turco. Tom Wandell, 23, or Jamie Benn, 21, should get the minutes that were designated for Modano, 40. The team is trending much younger.