Hitch back, Bishop in net as Stars hope to feel like 1999
LAST SEASON: 34-37-11, 79 points. Sixth in Central Division.
COACH: Ken Hitchcock (first season back in Dallas; 22nd NHL season, eighth with Stars).
ADDED: F Alexander Radulov, G Ben Bishop, D Marc Methot, C Martin Hanzal.
LOST: G Antti Niemi, F Patrick Sharp, F Alex Hemsky, C Cody Eakin
PLAYER TO WATCH: Ben Bishop. The 6-foot-7 goalie with Stanley Cup Final experience signed a six-year, $29.5 million deal with the Stars, whose two-goalie system faltered last season in missing the playoffs after working so well in 2015-16 when the Stars were the Western Conference’s top team. The Stars had a 3.17 goals-against average last season that was 29th among 30 NHL teams. The Stars acquired Bishop’s rights from Los Angeles, which had acquired him from Tampa Bay in a trade.
OUTLOOK: The Stars have brought back Hitchcock, the coach who has been with three other teams since leading Dallas to its only Stanley Cup championship in 1999. General manager Jim Nill did more than make a coaching change after Dallas missed the playoffs for the fifth time in seven seasons. Bishop is expected to solve a pressing issue in net, while top free agents were signed — center Martin Hanzal and right wing Alexander Radulov — and defenseman Marc Methot was acquired. The Stars also still have young elite scorers Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin.
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