Stars Draft Preview Redux

By Geoffrey Ussery

Well, it seems those wily Stars are up to their old tricks again. There were some surprises to be expected from the Stars near the draft, but they were not expected to come so early. Since the Draft Preview, the Stars have pulled off a couple of deals to change their standing in the draft and force us to realanalyze things a bit. Maybe the Stars just aren’t comfortable not drafting at the tail end of the first round.

The first deal was announced on Wednesday of last week. In that trade, the Stars sent the #13 overall selection to Washington for the #26 overall selection (first round), the #42 overall selection (second round), and a 6th round pick in next years draft. This deal, while hard to swallow when just considering the numbers of the picks alone, actually stood to improve Dallas’s odds of having a shot at a few solid prospects. Because there are few — if any — impact players outside of the Top 10 in this draft and because the number of solid prospects extends easily down to the #45 position, the Stars potentially turned one quality pick into two quality picks. Arguably, the Stars could have chosen a better overall potential player with the #13 pick (such as my favorite Denis Grebeshkov), but keep in mind that the Stars need both quantity and quality prospects nearly equally. Overall, this was a good move in an average draft. The Stars scouts just did not view anybody at the #13 position as being significantly better than those available in the late first and early second rounds.

In a deal a few days ago, the Stars acquired their likely backup goalie for next season, Ron Tugnutt, and Columbus’s second round pick, #32 overall, for the #20 overall pick, which Dallas had received for New Jersey. In this trade, Dallas moves down 12 spots in the draft and acquires a solid backup capable of starting. Not a bad move considering the Stars desperately needed a veteran backup that would be able to step in for Turco if he falters. As well, there is little to no difference between the #20 and #32 picks in this draft, so the risk presented by the dropping of spots is small, assuming the Stars saw no one of interest at #20. Altogether, this was a wise and consistent move on Armstrong’s part to enlist the services of a solid goalie, albeit somewhat pricey, while not giving up much ground in the draft.

With the moves, the Stars are left with a late first round pick (#26), an early second round pick (#32), and two middle second round picks in succession (#42 and #43) rather than the two middle first round selections (#13 and #20) and the middle second round selection (#43) they had before. How does this change the draft strategy? Not much at all, truthfully. While the overall quality of player available may be slightly diminished from some positions, there are still quite a few solid picks to take with the four picks the Stars have in the first two rounds. There is definitely the potential to fill holes on the wing and on defense if the Stars should choose to do so, but which players they choose is really up in the air with the candidates being so even.

Here are a few names to watch out for the Stars to potentially call come draft day (assuming things don’t change again):

  • Sergei Anshakov
  • Peter Kanko
  • Alexander Steen
  • Adam Henrich
  • Jonas Johansson
  • Matt Stajan
  • Joakim Lindström
  • Michael Lambert
  • Rob Globke
  • Ondrej Nemec
  • Denis Grot
  • Keith Ballard
  • Johnny Boychuk

Note: Thanks is extended to the Hockey’s Future Vancouver Canucks Editor Kirk Pedersen for discussion on the players listed above.