NHL Lockout: Why a Prolonged Work Stoppage Will Hurt the Dallas Stars

Mitchell KlempContributor IIOctober 10, 2012

GLENDALE, AZ - OCTOBER 25:  Head coach Glen Gulutzan of the Dallas Stars watches from the bench during the NHL game against the Phoenix Coyotes at Jobing.com Arena on October 25, 2011 in Glendale, Arizona.  The Stars defeated the Coyotes 3-2 in an overtime shootout.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

This offseason, the Dallas Stars banked their hopes of increasing their offense on a pair of forwards in their 40s. However, that is just the beginning of the team's problems as the lockout drags on further into autumn.

The fact that Jaromir Jagr and Ray Whitney have a short window to be at their most effective isn’t the biggest problem with the pair. The issue is that this upcoming season provides a very short window for them to build chemistry with their teammates.

Whitney is currently under a two-year contract, but Jagr’s services will be short lived. Since games have already been cancelled, the Stars will lose most, if not all, of an offseason that was crucial for the new pieces to synchronize.

Last year, the Pacific Division was up for grabs until the final week of the season. Dallas can’t afford to lose ground early on while the team is building chemistry. That goes for the addition of Derek Roy as well.  

In addition to building team chemistry, it also limits the time that head coach Glen Gulutzan can get the new players caught up on his schemes. The Stars have at least four new players expected to see major ice time, so they’ll need all the extra practice time possible.

In the flurry of contracts signed at the deadline, the Stars neglected to get a new deal in place for Jamie Benn. Whether it was a conscious decision or not, it will still eat into some of the season if things get off to a quick start.

There is no telling how long those negotiations could take. Since Benn already has chemistry with holdovers from last season's roster and is one of the team's top offensive threats, it will be hard to replace him while he sits out.

The longer this lockout lasts, the harder it will be for the Stars to get this team into top form. The team's best hope for a deep playoff run will be a quick resolution to the lockout.

Contact Mitch Klemp at MitchKlemp@yahoo.com and follow him on twitter @MeestaMitch