How the Dallas Stars built their Cup-contending team

After defeating the Vegas Golden Knights in five games, the Dallas Stars are officially headed to the Stanley Cup Final.

So, what does it take to build a true Cup contender? The formula changes every year, and this year’s bubble edition of the post-season has brought a particular set of challenges.

General manager Jim Nill, who took over as general manager in April 2013, inherited a team with some cornerstone players in core defencemen John Klingberg, Jamie Oleksiak, Esa Lindell and captain Jamie Benn, and put his stamp on the club over the past seven years via the draft, free agency, and trades.

To try to crack this year’s recipe for a winner, here’s a closer look at the Stars’ expanded 31-player roster that went into Edmonton as a top-four team in the Western Conference and now looks to emerge from the bubble as the 2019-20 champs.


All four top-four rearguards were found via the draft, as was the face of the franchise.

Thomas Harley, Defence
Drafted: 2019, first round, 18th overall
Brought into the bubble on the expanded roster, Harley has appeared in just one game so far (a round-robin matchup against the Colorado Avalanche) but early signs point to him being yet another strong defenceman drafted by the Stars.

Ty Dellandrea, Centre
Drafted: 2018, first round, 13th overall
Another bubble-bound player who got the call after another impressive season as captain of the OHL’s Flint Firebirds, Dellandrea has yet to suit up for an NHL game.

Miro Heiskanen, Defence
Drafted: 2017, first round, third overall
One of the best parts of this post-season has been watching Heiskanen. The smooth-skating Finn was no-brainer pick at No. 3 back in 2017, and after last year’s …read more

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