The NHL is in the peak of the offseason with trade rumors swirling and heat waves absolutely pummeling our bodies. The Dallas Stars offseason has already been one for the books with the hiring of new head coach Peter DeBoer, the signing of Mason Marchment, and the recent news of Matthew Tkachuk choosing Dallas as one of the markets he would like to be in for a long-term contract.
In the midst of all the news and rumors being batted back and forth like a tennis ball at Wimbledon, I was lucky enough to chat with current Dallas Stars defenseman Joel Hanley on what his offseason has been like as well as his thoughts on the previous campaign, and his expectations for the ’22-’23 NHL season.
Fink: You are coming off a great season, how do you feel like you were able to improve and make a difference for the Stars last year?
Hanley: Thank you. Last offseason/summer was difficult, and having core and groin surgery was something I’ve never had to do. I wasn’t able to do my normal summer training and skating. Coming into the season, I felt I had to work a little harder to find my game. I felt my game was solid going into the playoffs and was happy with how the team battled until the end.
Do you feel like you focused more on any single aspect of your game this season or was this season a product of hard work all coming together?
One of my goals was to stick in the NHL and play a full season. A lot of people have told me that it’s easy to play in the NHL but it’s harder to stick around. Honestly, a lot of it was mental for me this season and I had a lot of good people around me and with the team that helped me.
Is there a moment in the season where you felt everything click?
Not really. I feel like I have high standards for myself so I always think I can get better and improve.
What are you taking away from this season for the upcoming NHL campaign?
That we have an amazing team with great leaders and veterans as well as young talent. Looking forward to the upcoming season with new faces.
How has the offseason been so far and how close are you to getting back to a strict training regime?
It’s been great. I typically like to take two weeks completely off after a long season. After that, I usually start getting antsy and slowly start to ramp things up each week to get prepared for camp.
What are you looking to improve upon that you hope to bring to the ice on opening night?
Each offseason I try to get a little faster, stronger, and more skilled. Hopefully, I can have a good impression and showing during camp and bring that into the season.
With the covid shortened season come and gone and the NHL back to a normal schedule, how much did it take to adapt back and forth to those differing schedules?
It wasn’t too bad. It’s a long season, so you have to do a good job at taking care of your body and being a good pro.
Where do you hope to see yourself and the Stars at this point next year?
At the Cup parade.
Do you have a message for the Stars fans itching to get back to the American Airlines Center come October?
I can’t wait to get back to the AAC and hear the most underrated fans in hockey.
I can’t thank Hanley enough for taking the time to chat and answer these questions. The Dallas Stars offseason continues to roll on with fans awaiting the news of signing young standouts, Jason Robertson and Jake Oettinger. Stay tuned to The Morning Skate for all Stars news and updates as well as future interviews.