The Saints finished ninth last year with a 12-10 record, but they suffered a major blow during the free agency period when Brendon Goddard defected to Essendon.
Nevertheless, Dal Santo is doing his best to ignore the many pundits and footy fans already writing off his team.
"In some ways you can understand what they're saying, because we had been semi-successful for a period of time, and that's the flows of football: you usually go down before you go back up," he said on Friday.
"It is what it is. At the end of the day we've got to go out and play football every week. If we win games we'll prove them wrong, and if we don't then they're right.
"I think the whole competition's competitive. If you win some of those close games, you finish pretty high up on the ladder, and if you don't, you probably finish where you deserve to be.
"We haven't made any predictions about going up, going down, rebuilding or whatever it may be.
"We'll play the year out as it is and we'll see what comes out of it."
Dal Santo is still getting used to not seeing Goddard at training.
"What's life without Goddard like?" he pondered.
"It's different. It's a little bit more relaxed around here.
"It's just the way it goes. You lose a lot of mates along the way, but football clubs evolve.
"I think if you get stuck worrying about people that have gone, then you're missing your next opportunity.
"It will be a good game (when St Kilda plays Essendon) in round four."
As for seeing Goddard in the newspaper and on the TV news wearing his Essendon kit, Dal Santo said, "Doesn't look right, does it?
"But I think that happens with most people who change clubs over their career. It takes a little while to get used to their colours.
"But it sounds like he's going okay and he's enjoying it."
Dal Santo hopes that a number of the Saints' younger players will step up to cover the loss of Goddard, who was the No.1 pick in the 2002 NAB AFL Draft.
"It's hard to fill someone's void of BJ's calibre and ability to play multiple positions," he said.
"I think it's probably going to take a little bit from everybody.
"There'll be opportunities this year for other players to play different positions and different roles throughout games, so hopefully we can fill his shoes."