Montreal hosted the 2009 NHL Draft. The draft was highlighted by super-skilled forwards John Tavares and Matt Duchene and massive Swedish defenseman Victor Hedman. All three have been exceptional NHL players. In fact, the first seven players selected have all been impactful NHL players to whatever degree. Unfortunately, first-time GM Joe Nieuwendyk was armed with the eighth pick.
In all, Dallas selected just five players – all natural wingers. Their fourth round pick was paired with Mike Smith, Jussi Jokinen, and Jeff Halpern to acquire Brad Richards and Johan Holmqvist from Tampa Bay. The Stars also shipped off their seventh round pick at 189 to San Jose for a sixth in 2010.
Scott Glennie is not a popular name among Dallas Stars fans. The high draft position was a rare position for Dallas management and fans alike. They had not entered a selection before 25th in any previous draft dating back to 1996 when they selected fifth. Excepting the aforementioned Ric Jackman pick, since the Stars moved the Dallas, they have never picked higher than they did with Glennie, the former Wheat Kings stand out.
Glennie rose to stardom quickly when he was placed with the much-ballyhooed Brayden Schenn and the little-grinder-and-finisher-that-could Matt Calvert. The wiry, but fast, goal scorer notched 70 points in just 55 games in his draft year and had an impressive playoff run at a point-and-a-half per game clip. The full-time line of Calvert-Schenn-Glennie took off in 2010 and it led to deep playoff run for Brandon. And even when Schenn and Calvert left, the points were still there for Glennie. It seemed as if Schenn was the engine that drove the Wheaties and, in retrospect, that largely turned out to be true, but Glennie had a little Jeff Carter to him: a fast goal-scorer who could play defense too when he is on his game.
Unfortunately, injury, illness, inconsistency, and individual indifference have mired Glennie’s development. He has 66 points in the AHL, in three seasons, in 150 games (regular season and playoffs). Not the prettiest stat line in the world. That said, the last couple dozen contests have sprouted a seedling in the largely-barren field. He seems to be maturing as a player both on and off the ice and with this newfound work ethic, Glennie may be able to carve out a niche as an NHL player after all. However, his impact on the league is no longer expected to be anything overwhelming.
It was a little bit of an unusual path to the NHL for Stars second round pick Alex Chiasson. Chiasson was born in Quebec and went to Des Moines of the USHL before embarking on a three-season tour at Boston University. Chiasson was a big kid going into the draft and there were some questions about his skating and maybe his intangibles, but the chances of unearthing a hulking, offensive presence was too much for the Stars to ignore at number 38.
Despite some distractions at BU, Chiasson pieced together three impressive years including a 46-point effort in 38 junior-season games. The 6’3 playmaker picked up on the pro game quickly. He played most of the 2012-13 season in the AHL and was granted a late-season call up that created some buzz around the league. The right-hander seemed to drive the net and score in each of his first NHL games. The six goals and one assist in seven games put the expectations on high for the start of the 2013-14 season. Unfortunately, this season has not seen Chiasson continue to light the league on fire. He has a respectable 25 points in 55 games but he is a team-worst minus-20 – no one hemorrhages goals quite like Chiasson has this season and it seems to be having an effect on his confidence. While he is not a finished product, Chiasson has shown considerable improvement since his draft year and looks set to be a quality NHL player for years to come.
Reilly Smith, RW, St. Michael’s Buzzers (OJHL) – 3rd round, 69th overall
Status: NHL Player
NHL Games Played: 96
The Mimico, Ontario native finished off a 75-point season with the St. Michael’s Buzzers instead of the St. Michael’s Majors as a 17-year-old to preserve his NCAA eligibility. Reilly Smith made good on his promise to go to Miami University and the Redhawks fans and coaches were certainly ecstatic for it. Smith’s second season was spent on the top line with college stars Andy Miele (PHX) and Carter Camper (BOS) and he was named a CCHA First-Team All-Star after winning a conference championship. Without being buoyed by two potential Hobey Baker candidates, Smith had some big skates to fill in his junior season. He responded to the challenge by soliciting Hobey Baker consideration for himself with a 30-goal season.
Smith joined the Stars at the end of the season and then spent the locked-out portion of 2012 in the AHL before jumping to the show for good. He was used somewhat sparingly and was snake-bitten a bit, but his nine points in 37 games were not numbers Smith was used to putting up. A good skater with a swift shot, Smith was just unable to stand out after being whisked so quickly to the NHL. Soon after, he became part of a blockbuster deal that saw Loui Eriksson swapped for Tyler Seguin. With Eriksson’s injury troubles, Smith has taken his spot in the lineup and made the best of it. He leads the Bruins in goals with 18 and is tied for third on the club in points with 40. So while he ended up not having a wealth of success in Dallas, he did help GM Jim Nill to obtain the club’s current top line center.
Tomas Vincour, RW/LW, Edmonton Oil Kings (WHL) – 5th round, 129th overall
NHL Games Played: 88
The new kids on the WHL block in 2007 were the Edmonton Oil Kings. They used their first selection, first overall in the CHL Import Draft on winger Tomas Vincour. The heavy Czech led the first-year club in points with 39 as a rookie. The top Import pick had a very successful second WHL season with Edmonton and then Vancouver plus the experience of two World Juniors tournaments before turning professional. Despite not being a great skater or of sensational skill level, Vincour spent parts of each of his first three seasons up in Dallas. In all, he played in 86 games for Dallas and registered 15 points.
He was dealt for defensive prospect Cameron Gaunce at the trade deadline in 2013. Vincour appeared in just two games for the Avalanche but netted 11 points in six AHL games – which sparked some expectations going forward. Those expectations were quickly decapitated when in mid-June, Vincour signed a two-year deal with Ak Bars Kazan in the KHL. Vincour has been used in a bottom-six role so far in the KHL and his paltry scoring sums reflect that.
Curtis McKenzie, LW, Penticton Vees (BCHL) – 6th round, 159th overall
NHL Games Played: 0
The Stars final pick in 2009 was exchanged for another winger with collegiate aspirations. Curtis McKenzie did not have much in his scouting report about being “flashy” or a “game breaker,” but he has shown the ability to be a good complementary winger on a scoring line. The potential of being the glue that holds a line together is just as valuable sometimes. Coming from the storied Penticton program, McKenzie spent four years at Miami University. He had an up-and-down career there – starting and finishing strong. The latest buzzword in hockey is “heavy” and that is exactly the type of game that McKenzie plays.
A former Miami coach suggested that McKenzie might be more effective as a pro than as a collegiate player. So far, so good on that prognostication: With 43 points in 47 games on the Texas (AHL) top line, McKenzie is drawing rave reviews for his ability to do the dirty work for the more skilled players. And as the goal total suggests, he can cash from in close if needed as well. Complementary goal-scoring wingers who work well with skilled players seem to cause the most befuddlement among scouts until it is too late and general managers have to pay a heavy price to net them. Time will tell if the Stars have one of these valuable pieces in their prospect pool.
Follow Mike Farkas on Twitter: @MichaelFarkasHF