Ivan Vishnevskiy takes over atop the Dallas Stars top 20 prospects list while Jamie Benn is not far behind after another fantastic WHL campaign. Newcomer Scott Glennie debuts at No. 3. Five 2009 draftees made the list.
Top 20 at a Glance
1. (2) Ivan Vishnevskiy, D
2. (3) Jamie Benn, LW
3. (NR) Scott Glennie, RW
4. (4) Fabian Brunnstrom, LW
5. (7) Philip Larsen, D
6. (6) Ondrej Roman, LW/C
7. (NR) Alex Chiasson, RW
8. (9) Richard Bachman, G
9. (14) Tom Wandell, C
10. (13) Matt Tassone, C
11. (10) Raymond Sawada, RW
12. (11) Sergei Korostin, RW
13. (8) Perttu Lindgren, C
14. (12) Colton Sceviour, RW
15. (18) Tyler Beskorowany, G
16. (NR) Curtis McKenzie, LW
17. (NR) Austin Smith, RW
18. (20) Guillaume Monast, D
19. (15) Scott Winkler, C
20. (NR) Tomas Vincour, RW
Key: Current Rank (Old Rank) Name, Pos – Grade
1. (2) Ivan Vishnevskiy, D – 7.5 C
1st round (27th overall) in 2006
If Vishnevskiy’s late-season cup of coffee in the NHL didn’t justify his No. 1 position on the list than nothing will. The gifted offensive blueliner spent most of the year in Peoria in the AHL. He registered a somewhat underwhelming 19 points in 67 games, but he was caught behind a slew of offensive defensemen. He jumped down to Dallas to record two assists in three games but impressed beyond his small sample of statistics. He appears to have mentally outgrown the American League, but is he defensively apt enough to play at the next level? He’ll likely end up being the Stars first call-up if he doesn’t make the team out of camp.
2. (3) Jamie Benn, LW – 7.5 C
5th round (129th overall) in 2007
Although he didn’t complete a “full” season in the WHL (in part because of his call to Team Canada duties) he still put together an improvement on his gaudy rookie numbers. Benn’s 46 goals in 56 games placed him fifth in the Western League. He took his game to another level in the playoffs as Kelowna went to the Memorial Cup. His 13 goals and 33 points during their run led the league. Additionally, the lethal goal scorer took home a gold medal at the World Juniors with Canada. Benn will jump to the professional level in 2009-10 where he will attempt to prove that his goal-scoring prowess will carry past his junior years.
3. (NR) Scott Glennie, RW – 7.5 C
1st round (8th overall) in 2009
Glennie was the Stars first selection in 2009, though he came as a bit of surprise pick at No. 8. The sizable speedster played second fiddle to 2009 top prospect Brayden Schenn for a while but emerged as a bona fide future NHL star in the eyes of many. The right-handed shooting sniper will find himself back in Western League and a chance to put together a full regular season (his 2008-09 was cut short by a broken elbow). Glennie proved his worth to Brandon during the playoffs – he assisted on 15 goals (18 points in all) in 12 games. Perhaps he’ll get a chance to represent Canada in at the 2010 World Junior Championships.
4. (4) Fabian Brunnstrom, LW – 7.0 B
Undrafted free agent 2008
It was a rather uneven start for the Swedish standout in his first NHL season. He debuted with a hat trick which furthered his hyperbolic hype. After that, he encountered some slumps and some scratches. Despite the ups and downs, he showed that he has a fine goal scorer’s touch. Brunnstrom’s 17 goals in 55 games (which translates to 25 over 82 games) is certainly adequate. The Stars coaches will likely allot more ice time to the undrafted Swede when he demonstrates dedication to a more complete game every night. Brunnstrom will graduate from prospect status early this fall.
5. (7) Philip Larsen, D – 7.5 C
5th round (149th overall) in 2008
Larsen completed his first full professional season in the Elitserien in 2008-09 and he was quite impressive. His 17 points in 53 games was among the best in his age group. Larsen represented Denmark in the World Junior Championships (Div. I), registering four helpers in five games. He’s still filling out his frame but he continues to improve with every game. His combination of fantastic footwork and passing ability makes him one of the more underrated prospects in the world right now.
6. (6) Ondrej Roman, LW/C – 7.0 C
5th round (136th overall) in 2007
Due to international transfer issues, Roman started the year in the Czech Extraliga with HC Vitkovice. He was able to muster nine points in 26 games before he was finally able to make it back to Spokane (WHL) to finish the year. He resumed posting his excellent junior numbers by scoring a point per game during the final 32 games of the 2008-09 season. He was unable to help the Chiefs to the Memorial Cup and had something of a disappointing playoffs. He did represent the Czech Republic well on the international stage, however, he tallied four goals and four assists in six games for the Czechs. Roman will likely get the chance to show off his creative playmaking ability in the AHL in 2009-10.
7. (NR) Alex Chiasson, RW – 7.0 D
2nd round (38th overall) in 2009
Chiasson was able to stand out on an otherwise forgettable Des Moines team in 2008-09. The 6-foot-4 winger tallied 50 points and 101 PIMs in 56 games and was named to the USHL All-Rookie Team. Chiasson uses his strength on the puck and great body position in combination with his smooth hands. As a power forward with great offensive ability, Chiasson’s potential is very high, but work ethic issues make him somewhat boom or bust. Chiasson begins play at Boston University this year.
8. (9) Richard Bachman, G – 7.0 C
4th round (120th overall) in 2006
Bachman came down to earth a little bit after his tremendous freshman year at Colorado College. He put up very respectable numbers but struggled at times against the top-tier teams in the WCHA. His sub-2.00 GAA in 2007-08 ballooned to 2.63 in 2008-09. His save percentage was cut from a dazzling .931 to a more modest .914. His 14-11-10 record was a sharp contrast from his collegiate debut. The Stars signed Bachman and will bring him over to the newly-founded Texas Stars (AHL) where he will be tested against pro shots. At 5’10 he lacks the natural coverage of most other goaltenders.
9. (14) Tom Wandell, C – 6.5 C
5th round (146th overall) in 2005
The Swedish center got his first taste of NHL action in a somewhat unusual way –- an emergency recall from his Swedish team, Timra IK. Wandell would get a second chance to show off his offensive creativity at the end of Dallas’ unsuccessful 2008-09 campaign. Despite being young by Elitserien standards, Wandell was impressive this year while posting 15 goals and 41 points in 51 games (good for second on the team). Additionally, his plus-15 was best on the club. Wandell will get a strong look from the Stars in camp this year and has at least an average shot at being in the opening day lineup.
10. (13) Matt Tassone, C – 6.5 C
6th round (176th overall) in 2008
Tassone’s hands are often clenched fists used to wail on his opponents; this year they gained another important quality – goal scoring. Tassone’s 36 goals in just 52 games for Swift Current ranked him second on the team (one behind Keegan Dansereau’s 37 in 69 games). Tassone hit the century mark in penalty minutes for the second straight year. It’s yet to be seen if Tassone’s scoring prowess will carry over to the professional level but he has proven to be an opportunistic goal scorer that shows great instincts around the net. He’s more than willing to go to the dirty areas to scrounge for loose pucks and that will take him far at the next level.
11. (10) Raymond Sawada, RW – 6.5 B
2nd round (52nd overall) in 2004
After a full four years in Cornell, Sawada jumped to the professional ranks for his first full season in 2007-08. He was loaned to Manitoba (AHL) where he played 52 games, logging 21 points. Moose management insisted that they would only accept top-tier players as to not impede the progress of Vancouver’s future third and fourth liners – a ringing endorsement for the British Columbian. Before Sawada’s Moose reached the Calder Cup Finals, he saw his first cup of coffee at the NHL level. The grinding forward should see even more time with the Stars this season.
12. (11) Sergei Korostin, RW – 7.0 D
3rd round (64th overall) in 2007
Korostin’s first season in the OHL involved him playing on two teams that were going in different directions. The speedy Russian winger started the season with the powerhouse London Knights but after 13 games he was dealt to Peterborough. He did manage to post 29 points in 36 games but was unable to help the Petes avoid a first-round sweep. The former Texas Tornado (NAHL) should end up back in the state in 2009-10 playing for the AHL’s Stars.
13. (8) Perttu Lindgren, C – 7.0 D
3rd round (75th overall) in 2005
Lindgren takes the biggest slide on the list after a mediocre season in Finland’s top league. Lindgren, to his credit, was one of the youngest regulars on Lukko Rauma (SM-Liiga A) and he notched a very respectable 19 assists and 23 points in 49 games. The Finnish center just turned 22 late in August and he’ll have to buckle down and fully commit to the game if he wants a shot at being a regular NHLer. The creative playmaker may be unwilling to come over to North America just to toil in the minors though. Lindgren’s hype has fallen off considerably since being named to Finland’s World Junior Championships (U18 & U20) teams three times in three years.
14. (12) Colton Sceviour, RW – 6.5 C
4th round (112th overall) in 2007
Continuing his excellence since being dealt to Lethbridge, Sceviour rattled off a career high 80 points in 69 games for the Hurricanes in 2008-09. The 20-year-old led the star-studded ‘Canes in assists and points. Lethbridge was somewhat disappointing in the playoffs, but Sceviour netted four goals and seven points. It’s expected that Sceviour’s future worth will be largely determined in 2009-10 when he moves on to the professional ranks. It’s to be determined what kind of niche Sceviour is able to carve out for himself in the American League.
15. (18) Tyler Beskorowany, G – 7.0 D
2nd round (59th overall) in 2008
It was another long year for Beskorowany in Owen Sound, still under heavy siege behind the porous Attack defense. Beskorowany ended up splitting time with 2009 draft-eligible Scott Stajcer (NYR) before eventually losing his job to him when Owen Sound squeaked into the playoffs. Beskorowany’s numbers did improve over 2007-08, but could be much better. Predictably, the 6-foot-4 netminder was dealt recently to Kingston. Beskorowany will get a fresh start, a No. 1 job, and a chance to succeed on an up and coming team.
16. (NR) Curtis McKenzie, LW – 7.0 D
6th round (159th overall) in 2009
The Stars added another power forward to the pipeline with their final pick in 2009. Dallas once again is swinging for the fences with a Junior ‘A’ player in the later rounds and once again they might have found a gem. McKenzie was one of the biggest scorers in the BCHL in 2008-09, where he registered 30 goals and 64 points. McKenzie is teetering on the brink of being a complete package forward. He scores, hits, backchecks, fights and on top of it all, can play all three forward positions. The former Vee turned down an opportunity to play for the Red Deer Rebels, instead opting for Miami University of Ohio.
17. (NR) Austin Smith, RW – 6.5 D
5th round (128th overall) in 2007
Another former Penticton Vee, Smith finished second in scoring to former Star prospect David McIntyre at Colgate University in 2008-09. The diminutive ball of energy scored 17 goals in 37 games during his freshman campaign. The Texas native has made good strides since being drafted which can largely be attributed to his drive and his smarts on the rink. Smith’s transition to the college game has been virtually seamless and while he still needs some more time at the NCAA level, he has shown more promise than first anticipated.
18. (20) Guillaume Monast, D – 6.5 C
Undrafted free agent 2008
Monast earned himself an NHL contract after accepting a training camp invite last offseason. The Quebecois defenseman moved to the Remparts as an overager in 2008-09 and, predictably, played his best season to date. He shattered previous career marks in assists (38) and points (43) in 63 games this past season. With a severe deficiency in defensive depth, the Stars are hoping for a smooth shift for Monast into the pro game. The sizeable two-way blueliner should bring a needed physical presence to the Texas Stars as well as a calming locker-room influence.
19. (15) Scott Winkler, C – 6.5 C
3rd round (89th overall) in 2008
Winkler is coming into the home stretch of a veritable four-team development tour. From Norway’s Division-2 to AAA Midget Major to the USHL in 2008-09 before finally landing at Colorado College this season. With Cedar Rapids, Winkler notched 36 points in 55 games but only managed two assists in the Roughriders’ first-round playoff ousting. The 6-foot-2 forward is rarely awe-inspiring but still displays few weaknesses in his game. The right-handed Norwegian will get to face his toughest competition yet when he becomes a Tiger this autumn.
20. (NR) Tomas Vincour, RW – 7.0 D
5th round (129th overall) in 2009
Vincour, once considered a very highly-rated NHL prospect, was selected first overall in the 2007 CHL Import Draft. As evidenced by his NHL draft position, a lot has changed in two years, but Vincour still possesses a high amount of potential. Though two separated shoulders cut his season short, Vincour still finished fifth on the Oil Kings in goals and points (17 goals, 36 points in 49 games). The physical power forward should receive top-line minutes in 2009-10 and hopefully further his progression into an NHL-caliber goal scorer. Vincour might be yet another Dallas’ fifth rounder that moves quickly up the ranks; he’s one of six fifth rounders in Dallas’ top 20.