Few teams in the NHL are in bigger shambles than the Dallas Stars, they have ownership problems, money problems but can they fix things in time for the start of the 2011 season?

During the trade deadline last season the Stars decided to hold on to impending free agent Brad Richards in the hope of making the playoffs and making some extra cash. Instead, the Stars nosedived and then watched Richards depart via free agency receiving no compensation.

Kari Lehtonen Dallas Stars Goal KeeperThe messy ownership situation has been a dark cloud over the Stars and it doesn’t look to have an end in sight. Meanwhile, with the team being up for sale, payrolls are being kept to a minimum, which isn’t good news for a team that missed the playoffs while winning just 13 wins in their final 35 games. 

What they’ve got: 

With Kari Lehtonen between the pipes, the Stars have an above average goaltender to build around. Going forward, that’s going to be the plan. 

The Stars strengths come from the back end with Lehtonen and a blue line that is underrated. Stephane Robidas, Nicklas Grossman, Trevor Daley and Jamie Benn make up an excellent foursome that doesn’t get much acclaim. If Alex Goligoski or Sheldon Souray can fill in the power play quarterback roll, the Stars will be just fine along the blue line. 

Dallas allowed just 233 goals this season, which is in the middle of the pack in terms of the statistics, but look for the Stars to improve on that number as they won’t keep up in shootouts. 

What they need: 

Plenty of scoring. 

It’s not like the Stars were a high-scoring team to begin with. Their power play ranked 14th in the NHL and that was with Richards and James Neal in the lineup. That tandem contributed 49 goals. 

Now the question is where does the scoring come from? 

Jamie Benn had a breakout year, notching 22 goals and 56 points, and Loui Eriksson and Brendan Morrow are back, but the Stars managed just 227 goals this season and let 49 of them walk away. That leaves the Stars with just three players that finished with more than 32 points last season. The only notable scoring addition was Michael Ryder, who had 41 points last season. 

While the Stars definitely lack some offensive talent upfront, they also lack superstar power, unlike the Bruins or the Flyers. There’s no one player anywhere on the roster than can carry the team or excite the fans. That’s an issue as the Stars are in a fairly depressing state right now. With ownership problems, the fans are feeling down about the team. If they get off to bad start, there could be plenty of empty seats throughout the season. 

Outlook: 

The Stars are in bad shape in every aspect.

Ownership is in flux, the front office is handcuffed and the roster needs more help than their getting. 

The signing window in free agency is practically over and the Stars are under $50 million in spending with the cap sitting at just over $64 million. 

The good news is that they have the funds to improve the team once the ownership situation is cleared up but until there is a new head at the top of the tree, then the Stars will be stuck in limbo near the basement of the Western Conference.