Stars 2008 draft review

By Mike Farkas

The Dallas Stars completed their first draft under the reign of co-GMs Les Jackson and Brett Hull.  Probably the biggest difference in this draft from any of the Doug Armstrong drafts is that Dallas did not make a trade during the weekend.  Armstrong was known for moving a first-round pick for a couple of seconds or a fourth round pick for a few fifths.

The Stars retained all of their picks that they entered the draft with and did not acquire additional ones.  They had previously lost their first-round pick to Los Angeles in the Mattias Norstrom trade.  They had also lost their fourth-round pick to Tampa Bay when they re-acquired Darryl Sydor.

The Stars only selected five times in 2008, tied for the fewest (2006) since the team moved to Dallas in 1993.  By selecting a goalie with their first pick, 59th overall, it marks the first time Dallas has taken a goalie with its first selection since Jason Bacashihua (2001) and the deepest point in the draft that the Stars had gone without making a selection.

Tyler Beskorowany, G — Owen Sound Attack (OHL)

Second Round, 59th overall
4/28/90; 6’4, 203 lbs.

With Dallas’ first selection in 2008, they took Owen Sound netminder Tyler Beskorowany.  He is a very big goalie who displays good athleticism for his size while maintaining a good economy of movement with little wasted effort.  He’s a smart kid who sees the ice in front of him very well in more ways than one.  When asked what the best part of his game was, Beskorowany said it was reading the play.

Additionally, he’s very good at playing the puck.  Beskorowany modestly states that he’s "pretty good (at handling the puck), not as good as Marty Turco."  Perhaps Beskorowany will be yet another sensational puckhandler who comes through Dallas like the aforementioned Turco, or current Tampa Bay goalie Mike Smith.

Beskorowany’s numbers may look unimpressive now (12-19-3, 4.04 GAA, .900 save pct.) but wait until the Attack put out a formidable team.  Or at least a team that doesn’t surrender about 40 shots per contest, like they did in 2007-08.

When Stars Director of Amateur Scouting and former goalie Tim Bernhardt encourages his team to draft a netminder, as he did here, it is considered to be quite a special endorsement. 

Scott Winkler, C — Russell Stover (MWEHL)

Third Round, 89th overall
2/22/90; 6’2, 195 lbs.

Winkler is the first of two picks from non-traditional hockey countries by Dallas in 2008.  The Norwegian spent last season with Russell Stover (MWHEL) where he racked up 40 goals and 92 points in 70 games.

Winkler is an all-around good player and solid contributor.  He is a smooth skater and shows great bursts of speed.  His shot is first-class; he is a great finisher and will get to display that next season with the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders (USHL).  He also uses his size quite well, at 6’2, 195 lbs he has a frame that needs filling out, but he finishes his checks without hesitation. 

Winkler isn’t a very well-known player yet, but there are few notable weaknesses in his game.  He is responsible and determined in the defensive zone, he will finish his checks and/or finish the play with a goal.  The former Frisk Tiger (Norway) also has soft hands and good vision for the offensive play unfolding in front of him.

He will move up the ranks quickly from Russell Stover to the USHL and then to Colorado College for 2009-10.  His game should project very well to the college ranks.  If he can put all of his tools together at the same time, Winkler could be a big steal for Dallas at 89th overall.

Philip Larsen, D — Vastra Frolunda HC (SEL)

Fifth Round, 149th overall
12/7/89; 5’11, 185 lbs.

Denmark native Philip Larsen was Dallas’ third selection in 2008. Listed as Central Scouting’s 11th best European skater, Larsen slipped all the way to 149th overall. 

The undersized defenseman is known mostly for his offensive acumen.  He is a very fast skater with quick feet who is more than capable of leading the rush up the ice.  His offensive skills are his calling card.  He makes great, accurate passes at any point on the ice and is a very sound decision maker in the attacking zone.  There does not appear to be any significant downside to his offensive talents.

He just turned 18 in December of 2007 but already has Elitserien experience.  He played five games with Frolunda (SEL) in 2006-07, followed by 16 more in 2007-08.  In addition, this past season he spent eight games with Frolunda’s junior team where he scored five points and 24 games with Allsvenskan’s Boras (Swe-2) where he registered five goals and five assists.

Larsen needs to improve on the defensive aspects of his game.  He is undersized, which will make it difficult for him to take on the bigger forwards at the pro level.  Since using his body isn’t always an option for him, he needs to make use of his outstanding skating ability to stay in the play defensively at a more consistent rate. 

Matt Tassone, C — Swift Current Broncos (WHL)

Sixth Round, 176th overall
9/28/89; 6’0, 200 lbs.

With their sixth-round selection, the Stars added to their group of hard-working two-way forwards.  Tassone from Swift Current (WHL) provides a good bit of toughness and the willingness to drop the gloves for his teammates.  His offensive game is a work in progress, he netted 19 goals and 36 points in 60 games for the Broncos this year, well above his 2006-07 totals.  He has a good shot and is willing to go to the net to earn goals, which is something he will need to do at the NHL level to have any offensive impact.

Dallas will probably get the most use out of him as a defensively responsible bang and crash forward (something organization is chock full of already).  He needs to continue to use his size and skating as his main assets; he can ill-afford to take shifts off.

Mike Bergin, D — Smiths Falls (CJAHL)

Seventh Round, 209th overall
6/30/88; 6’3, 197 lbs.

The Stars final selection in 2008 was Junior A overager Mike Bergin.  The defenseman and captain for Smiths Falls (CJAHL) was a dominant player throughout his 2007-08 campaign.  In fact, Smiths Falls GM and head coach Bill Bowker said he was, "One of the finest young men this program has had the privilege of coaching."

Bergin brings very good mobility along with big-time size.  He is an intimidating player and craves physical play — a trait that will serve him well at the next level.  He also has the ability to move the puck from the point effectively and is reliable enough to make the smart play with the puck in the defensive zone.  He will be considered a valuable physical, two-way defenseman with great leadership qualities to the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) next season.

Bowker said, "He will easily rise to compete at the next level" and that Bergin, "has all the tools to become successful."