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February 20, 2013 | 2:52pm ET
Sit tight, Stars fans
By Molly Melissa Mandell

DALLAS, TX -- In November, 24/7 Wall Street published a study in which they analyzed home game attendance among the four major sports leagues, the NHL, MLB, NBA, and NFL.

They recorded 13 professional sports teams that have been "running out of fans" over the past ten years. The Dallas Stars ranked fifth.

In the 2007-08 season, the last time the Stars made the Stanley Cup Playoffs, the team ranked 12th in the NHL for home attendance. Last year, they were third-to-last.

With an 8-7-1 record, they currently sit eighth in the Western Conference. Yes, it could be worse. Though for Stars fans, it is hard not to be frustrated.

On Sunday, the Stars had 22 shots in 20 minutes, leading Calgary 3-1 at the end of the second period. By the end of the game, however, Calgary had scored three goals, winning 4-3 in regulation. Yes, that is most definitely frustrating.

Stars fans might be losing patience, but they shouldn't jump ship just yet.

Dallas, a fairly young team, is amidst a big transition. Mistakes are bound to happen and inconsistency is expected. After all, to grow, you have to go through growing pains.

Despite bumps along the road, however, this abbreviated season has brought us glimpses of the future.

Take, for example, that in the last four games, youth players have delivered a majority of Stars' goals. Twenty-one-year-old Reilly Smith, 22-year-old Brenden Dillon, and 23-year-old Antoine Roussel each have two goals in those four games.

Meanwhile, 21-year-old Cody Eakin, acquired in a trade with the Washington Capitals this summer, has two goals and two assists.

"They're working and playing the right way," Stars coach Glen Gulutzan told the Dallas Morning News. "And they're having success."

Youth players have been rising to the occasion while the Stars deal with a plethora of injuries. This is just the beginning. These players are just starting to find their places in the NHL.

Eventually, however, these could be the players that make the Stars playoff contenders. It might be difficult, but sit tight, Stars fans.

Molly Melissa Mandell is a contributing writer for The Fourth Period.

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