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Lindy Ruff will not return to Stars next season

Dallas Stars v Florida Panthers

SUNRISE, FL - MARCH 4: Head coach Lindy Ruff of the Dallas Stars directs the players during a time out against the Florida Panthers in the third period at the BB&T Center on March 4, 2017 in Sunrise, Florida. The Stars defeated the Panthers 2-1. (Photo by Joel Auerbach/Getty Images)

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Following a bitterly disappointing season that saw the team miss the playoffs by 15 points, the Dallas Stars announced on Sunday that Lindy Ruff will not return to the team next season as its head coach.

Ruff’s contract expired after this season and will not be renewed.

The team said in a statement that it will immediately begin the process of finding a replacement.

“I want to personally thank Lindy for his commitment and professionalism over the four years that he served as our head coach in Dallas,” general manager Jim Nill said in the team statement.

“Lindy is not only a highly respected coach, he more importantly is a great person and an outstanding family man whom I have the utmost respect for on and off the ice.”

Ruff joined the Stars at the start of the 2013-14 season and spent the past four years behind the team’s bench, making the playoffs two times. They made it as far as the second round last season. They topped 90 points in three of the four seasons.

During his four years with the Stars the team was one of the more exciting ones in the league because of its high-powered offense. Adding to that excitement was a defense and goaltending situation that had a tendency to give up as much (or more) as the offense was able to score. The Stars were never able to fully fix those problems on the back end, especially in net.

As bad as this season was for the Stars, the cupboard isn’t completely bare. Tyler Seguin and Jamie Benn are two of the best forwards in the league, while John Klingberg is a dynamic offensive presence on the blue line. The biggest problem will again be trying to find a way to sure up the defense and deal with a goaltending situation that is still among the league’s worst with Kari Lehtonen and Anti Niemi both still having another year on their contracts at a combined cap hit of nearly $10 million.