The Dallas Stars selected eighth overall in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft, their highest position in the draft since they picked Ric Jackman fifth overall in 1996. Their top pick, Scott Glennie, came as a bit of a surprise to some, including Glennie himself, but adds yet another high-quality forward to an already deep array of scorers and playmakers.
Going into the draft, the Stars severely lacked blue line prospects and their goaltending depth took a concerning lateral step. Coming out of the draft, nothing changed. The Stars used all five of their picks on forwards. For the first time since the Stars moved from Minnesota, they did not select a player from a professional European league. Tomas Vincour, the lone European, has played in the WHL since 2007-08.
Scott Glennie, F – Brandon (WHL)
1st round, 8th overall
Glennie featured prominently on one of the top lines in junior hockey last season. The trio that featured Brayden Schenn (LA) and Matt Calvert (CLB) compiled 225 points in a combined 183 games. Glennie had his season shortened a bit by a broken elbow, but was able to make a full recovery for the WHL playoffs. He emerged from under Schenn’s shadow this season, catapulting his draft stock to near the top of the class.
Glennie displays awesome speed and a pair of goal-scorer’s hands (and a much-needed right-handed shot). He’s one of the best skaters in the draft and his playmaking skills are coming around as well. He has a projectable frame, but like most prospects, could stand to add more strength. He rated below average in both upper and lower body strength at the combine. Glennie doesn’t show a lot of attention to detail defensively, but he can be used as the speedy high forward on the penalty kill who can snatch up cross-ice feeds. With Glennie’s ability to eat up ice, he will likely be an exceptional four-on-four player.
“I didn’t even meet with Dallas hardly at all,” Glennie said at the draft. “But I couldn’t be happier that they picked me.”
Glennie’s goal-scoring prowess will likely remain in the WHL in 2009-10 but this “potential Jeff Carter of the Western Conference” could challenge for a spot in 2010-11.
Alex Chiasson, RW – Des Moines (USHL)
2nd round, 38th overall
Another forward was in the stars for Dallas in the second round. Chiasson, from Des Moines of the USHL, is a power forward with smooth hands. While the Buccaneers struggled this season, Chiasson excelled. He led the team in points with 50 in 56 games while accruing just a minus-9 rating. The winger is taking a somewhat unorthodox route to the NHL for a Quebecois. He went to high school in New York, then moved on to Des Moines, and in the fall he’s off to Boston University.
As Chiasson adds strength to his 6-foot-3 frame, he’ll become a more powerful forward who can drive the net with authority. He’s willing to pay the price to make the play, but isn’t always consistent in his play. Once he gets the puck on his stick, it becomes very difficult to disengage him from the puck. He’s still finding his legs –- a major sticking point at this juncture of his development. Chiasson will find himself under the tutelage of legendary coach Jack Parker in 2009-10.
Reilly Smith, RW – St. Michael’s (OPJHL)
3rd round, 69th overall
With their third pick in the 2009 draft, the Stars took a somewhat diminutive forward from St. Michael’s (OPJHL). Smith is a 6-foot, 157-pound winger who finished his second year in St. Michael’s with 75 points (second on the team) and a team-best four shorthanded goals.
Smith is a hard-working offensive player whose upside well exceeds his frame. He’s a quick-skating, agile forward who plays with determination and a high work rate. He’s pretty handy with both his passing and his shooting. Smith exhibits great offensive instincts. He readily admits that he’s undersized and needs to bulk up. He’s been somewhat fruitless in high-traffic areas for that very reason. He’ll have ample time to hone his skill and physically mature, as he will likely spend four years at Miami (OH) University starting this fall.
Tomas Vincour, RW – Edmonton (WHL)
5th round, 129th overall
Dallas tried to pluck another western sleeper at 129 with Tomas Vincour from Edmonton. The Czech import was limited to just 17 goals and 36 points in 49 games due to a shoulder injury this season. Once thought to be a top 30 or 50 pick a year ago, Vincour’s stock has slipped quite a bit after being named the best Division 1 forward at the U18 World Junior Championships in 2008. He represented his country once more at the U20 World Junior Championships in 2009, tallying three assists in six games.
At 6-foot-2, 203 pounds, the hope is that Vincour develops into a power forward at the next level. He has a lot of offensive skill and top-notch hands. Additionally, he can use his big body to shield off defenders in order to release his quick, accurate wrist shot. The Czech winger does his best work below the dots and in tight. Vincour is a great team-first player who seems to get along well while continuing to adapt to his new surroundings in North America. He’s not the greatest two-way forward, but he’s still a work-in-progress. Talk of his abysmal skating is exaggerated to a degree; he’s not quick by any definition, his top speed is much more impressive than his acceleration. He has some issues with balance and his stride is far from textbook but as a power forward he can still make it work. The Stars swung for the fences with the former top pick of the 2007 CHL Import Draft.
Curtis McKenzie, LW/RW – Penticton (BCHL)
6th round, 159th overall
McKenzie made great strides in his second season in Penticton. He exploded on the scoresheet to tally 30 goals and 64 points in 53 games – numbers that put him among the best in the league. Additionally, he finished second in the league with five shorthanded markers in 2008-09. McKenzie passed up a chance to play for the Red Deer Rebels in favor of going to the Miami University (OH) where he will join Reilly Smith.
With McKenzie, the Stars add another budding power forward to their pipeline. Nearly 6-foot-2, 200 pounds already, McKenzie has been given the chance at all three forward positions but is best suited as a winger who will drive the front of the net. He does it all on the ice though, scores goals, backchecks, throws the big hits and is willing to drop the gloves. He brings a great, heady body presence to the front of the cage. He is usually a fireball on the ice who will stop at nothing to achieve his objectives. His skating leaves something to be desired though. He seems to have some pretty heavy feet.