With all the recent changes in the Dallas Stars front office, the franchise’s drafting and development philosophy is bound to be altered. Under older regimes, the Stars pipeline was chock full of European prospects – especially forwards, both of the flashy and power varieties. This is no longer the case in Dallas. Currently, the Stars only have one prospect that is still abroad – defenseman Philip Larsen. Ondrej Roman, however, spent most of the season in the Czech Republic but has since returned to North America.
Philip Larsen, D – Vastra Frolunda (SEL)
Drafted: 5th round (149th overall) in 2008
Diminutive defenseman Philip Larsen has risen up the ranks quite quickly in Sweden and on the Stars Top 20 list. Larsen’s point totals have been cut down a little bit this season, which can be attributed to a little bit of injury trouble and Vastra Frolunda’s acquisition of former NHL blueliner Christian Backman. However, the now 21-year-old’s ice time increased and he’s been a regular second-pairing defenseman in the lineup.
Larsen has the impressive feat of having played 100 Elitserien games as a defenseman before his 21st birthday. This validates that Larsen has a lot of excellent tools at his disposal. He is an excellent skater with tremendous vision and superior hockey sense. Larsen is a superb passer and is not at all out of place or lost in his own end. The only real knock on Larsen is his size and how he will be able to handle the bigger, more aggressive North American forwards on the rush and along the boards.
It seems likely that Larsen will make his way over to North America and make the adjustment to the smaller ice in the fall of 2010, at which time he may be able to challenge for a spot on the Stars roster.
Ondrej Roman, LW – HC Vitkovice (Czech)
Drafted: 5th round (136th overall) in 2007
Roman, in addition to be a creative playmaker, has been a ping-pong ball of sorts between North America and Europe in the past year or so. Last season, Roman started the year in the Czech Republic. He saw time with HC Vitkovice in the top Czech league, those games played were a direct result of some IIHF transfer issues. Finally, Roman was allowed and welcomed back to the Spokane Chiefs (WHL) lineup. He played roughly half the year in Spokane, netting a point per game in 32 matches. Roman had a very strong showing for the Czechs in the World Junior Championships as well.
The 2009-10 campaign for Roman once again commenced with HC Vitkovice. It was a very disappointing year for him at the men’s league level – just three points in 26 games. Roman played in the U20 league in the Czech Republic where he was the recipient of much more ice time. In the junior league he tallied 26 points in just 10 games. Dallas was able to sign him to an entry-level contract during the season and Roman left the Czech Republic. However, concerns about his contract status has kept him from playing in the AHL at this point and will continue to do so (barring a sudden change of heart by the AHL) for the rest of the 2009-10 season.
The Czech forward will get a chance to show off his talents in training camp and, likely, the AHL starting this autumn. He’s a smooth-skating, creative passer from the wing or the center position. He’s still a bit on the small side, but he has the skills to make a name for himself in North America.