For the fourth straight season, the Dallas Stars found themselves on the outside looking in at the conclusion of the 2011-12 campaign.
General Manager Joe Nieuwendyk did not waste time in the off-season, rebuilding his squad by grabbing veteran unrestricted free agents from other teams around the league.
The biggest name that will be pulling on a Stars jersey for the first time is veteran forward Jaromir Jagr, who made his NHL return last season with the Philadelphia Flyers after spending three seasons in the KHL. The 40-year-old forward made an impact in his return, accounting for 19 goals and 54 points as well as providing veteran leadership for the Flyers.
The Stars hope he can carry that over to their roster and to bolster the attack as they also signed Phoenix Coyotes leading scorer Ray Whitney and added centre Derek Roy in a deal with the Buffalo Sabres.
The power play will be one of the points of concern heading into the new season as the Stars were dead last with the man advantage. All of these offensive additions should help them put the puck into the net more, something they hope will trickle down to all aspects of their game.
Jamie Oleksiak, the Stars' first round pick in the 2011 Entry Draft (14th overall), is a 6'7'' defenceman that could be a stay at home stalwart for many years to come. He has also shown the ability to chip in offensively and if he can refine that part of his game could become a very valuable two-way player with his size.
Forward Alex Chiasson is another player that looks poised to make a big jump as he gets a full season at the pro level underway. His ability to move the puck could also help him move very quickly into the pros.
Brett Ritchie has enjoyed a breakout season in 2012-13. The 2011 second-rounder left Niagara for the World Junior tournament tied for the OHL goal-scoring lead and could develop into another power forward to go alongside Jamie Benn.
Offensively, there is no shortage of scoring or experience for the Stars. They should be three lines deep with players that can hurt you in all phases of the game and if they can turn their league-worst power play into something better, they will be that much more dangerous as they push for one of the last playoff positions in the Western Conference.
They sacrificed a lot of defence to acquire all of the fire power upfront both in trades and in players they had to let go in order to make room for the new guys. Subtracting Sheldon Souray's offensive abilities from a PP that was already struggling is a big hole to attempt to fill.
A look at where Stars players went during the lockout:
Cam Barker (Texas, AHL), Jamie Benn (Hamburg, German Elite), Jordie Benn (Texas, AHL), Cody Eakin (Texas, AHL), Jaromir Jagr (Kladno, Czech League), Philip Larsen (Rauma, Finnish Elite), Stephane Robidas (Helsinki, Finnish Elite), Tom Wandell (Severstal Cherepovets, KHL)