The Dallas Stars have proven to be a wagon this season. Even opposing teams have taken notice of their skill and high level of play. And thanks to their performance, they will be one of the teams seeking to dethrone the Vegas Golden Knights in the NHL Playoffs.

Dallas may take a similar trajectory to the Golden Knights this year, as well. Vegas entered last season's playoffs as the top seed in the Western Conference. This year, that could very well be the Stars. They have already claimed the Central Division title. One more win would see them claim the first seed in the West.

However, being the top seed could be a bit of a death knell this season. In fact, it could lead to a nightmare matchup in the very first round of the NHL Playoffs. And it's a matchup the Stars are rather familiar with given their recent playoff history.

The Stars may face the Golden Knights

The Dallas Stars celebrate winning the game against the Seattle Kraken at American Airlines Center.
Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

If Dallas wants to win the Stanley Cup, they may need to take down the champions first. The Stars could very well take on the Vegas Golden Knights in round one of the NHL Playoffs. Vegas currently holds onto the final wild card spot in the West. They will make the playoffs, having already staved off the St. Louis Blues.

If Vegas doesn't catch the Nashville Predators, they draw the Stars round one. And that would be less-than-ideal for Dallas. Now, the Stars do have a win over the Golden Knights in the NHL Playoffs. They defeated Vegas in the 2020 Western Conference Final. However, that was before Vegas had the experience of winning a Cup under their belts.

Furthermore, the Golden Knights went through Dallas to win that Stanley Cup. Vegas defeated the Stars in six games, but the series wasn't as close as it may seem. The Stars imploded during this series. Ryan Suter got exposed by the Golden Knights offense. And captain Jamie Benn earned himself a suspension with a dirty hit.

Even without all of that, the Stars will still have their hands full. Vegas is not the same team they were last summer. They are a loaded team that may be making one last run with this core. And that could create a ton of problems for Dallas in the NHL Playoffs.

Vegas may be relentless

The Golden Knights and Stars both made major moves at the NHL Trade Deadline. However, Vegas went well beyond what Dallas ended up doing. Defenseman Noah Hanifin joined forwards Anthony Mantha and Tomas Hertl as the newest players in the Sin City in early March.

If that's not enough, the team may get its captain back for the NHL Playoffs. Mark Stone reportedly lacerated his spleen before the deadline. Initially, his playoff status was up in the air. That being said, he recently returned to the ice and practiced in a non-contact jersey.

All of these moves has put a strain on Vegas in terms of available salary cap space. As a result, this could be their final run with this core before players like Jonathan Marchessault go elsewhere. In that event, the Golden Knights are likely to play with reckless abandon as they try to win one more Stanley Cup.

The Stars are a Stanley Cup contender in their own right. Dallas can certainly withstand this storm from Vegas or any team. However, that doesn't mean this is an ideal scenario for them. They could be thrown into the fire right off the bat. And it'll be interesting to see if they sink or swim against the defending champions.