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Monday, October 3, 2011
Stars 27th in ESPN preseason Power Rankings

By Mark Stepneski

The ESPN.com Power Rankings are back and the Stars rank 27th in the preseason edition.

Scott Burnside handles the first installment of the season and offers this reasoning behind the low ranking for the Stars:
We're still not sold on Kari Lehtonen as a franchise netminder, and the loss of Brad Richards will be hard to get over.

If you break it down by conference, the Stars are 13th ranked in the West. This is pretty much par for the course if you've seen a lot of the national predictions for the Stars. Most of them have had the Stars anywhere from 11th to 15th.

Some thoughts:

Richards is a top player, but the Stars took the money that freed up and went out and added some pretty nice piece: A right handed goal scorer in Michael Ryder, a quality checking line center in Vernon Fiddler and some good depth forwards in Radek Dvorak and Jake Dowell. The Stars are a deeper team up front. Adam Pardy looks like a nice addition on defense and Sheldon Souray has the potential to bring a lot to the mix as well.

As for Lehtonen, he had a pretty good 2010-11 season and could be even better this season, especially if the Stars play a better team defensive game under new head coach Glen Gulutzan, which is what I expect them to do.

Bottom line, I think they will be do much better than many of the national guys think. But we'll see where they are after 82 games because that is, after all, the true measuring stick.

Anyway, back to the rankings. Boston, Vancour, Washington, Pittsburgh and San Jose are the top five teams to start the season. The full rankings are here.