Stars’ Time Capsule: A Look Back at the 2000 Draft Part I of III

By Geoffrey Ussery

Back in 2000, the Stars made a couple of controversial
selections in the early rounds that left some fans, including myself,
scratching
their heads. In a system that was at the time so deprived of scoring talent,
the
selection of another gritty, character player and a goalie in the first two
rounds was puzzling. Two years later, and all-around, the draft is shaping
up to
be quite a feat. While only one of these prospects have made the NHL at the
moment, the
two years of development since the draft have turned this class into a
remarkable one that is
forming the backbone of Dallas’s future.

Dusting off an old article hiding in the cobwebs of the HF
archives, let us see how after two years the overall views on the first
five 2000
draftees have changed.

First Round Pick, #25
Overall-Steve Ott

Back then, the general estimation was: “Must gain weight to
be effective
in the NHL, but already has the necessary skills plus speed, good puck
control,
and good passing ability, while also maintaining a distinct edge to his
game.
Proof of his skills lie in the fact that he led his team in scoring as a
rookie,
and was MVP for Team Cherry in the ’00 CHL Prospect Game.

Solid pick with good upside, and should develop into a nice
two-way player.”


Two years later, not much has changed with Ott except that
that “edge” has transformed into a keen cutting blade. One of the premier
agitator prospects, Ott ratcheted up his offense in his final two junior
years
and was also a part of two consecutive Canadian World Junior Championship
teams.
He has already seen limited action with the Stars in his first pro year,
producing a goal and an assist while terrorizing the opposition. His part of
the
year in Utah has been disappointing, especially from a production
standpoint.
From the start of the year, it was clear that his focus was on making and
sticking with the Stars. If it were not for the remarkable play of Niko
Kapanen,
Ott would likely have spent most of the year with the Stars. A spot on the
roster is almost guaranteed next year for this super pest. Hopefully, he
will be
able to crank up his offense a notch and become a threat to the other team
in
more than emotion.

Second Round Pick, #60
Overall-Dan Ellis

The prevailing knowledge of the time held: “A butterfly
goalie that played last
season in the weaker USHL, and will attend college next season. Possesses
good
quickness, rebound control, and focus, but must translate his game to the
higher
levels of competition.

A reach made because of need, but his progress has been
encouraging.”

Moving to the CCHA with UN-Omaha after his selection, Dan
Ellis essentially became that team. As he went, so went the Mavericks.
Ellis’s
goaltending prowess transferred well to the tougher NCAA, as his freshman
and
sophomore years were excellent in this powerful hockey conference, earning
player of the week honors several times and winning some postseason honors
as
well. But for the quick butterfly goalie, his third year has been a little
more
humbling. Coming into the year having high expectations placed on him, Ellis
has
been average, and his team has suffered for it. He still has one year left
in
college to regain his form. One of the more unheard of goaltending prospects
that has good potential, Ellis has turned out to be worth the selection and
is
now a member of one of the deeper goaltending talent pools of the NHL.

Third Round Pick, #68
Overall-Joel Lundqvist

Many, many moons ago, a wise man said: “Joel has played well
in recent
international tournaments, while showing average speed, plus hockey sense,
and
very good hands around the net.

A very nice pick that shows good offensive upside.”

Two years later and Lundqvist is arguably the second best
prospect selected behind Steve Ott. Sleeper pick was the correct term for
the
Swede as he has followed a solid rookie campaign for Frölunda with
improvement
offensively. Lundqvist has shown very good playmaking ability and scoring
instincts plus a bit of a mean streak. His play this year earned him
nominations
to the Swedish National Team for some of the Eurotour Tournaments. Lundqvist
was
quiet at these events, and the level of competition highlighted a need to
improve his skating and face-off ability further. One of the better young
players
in Sweden, Lundqvist will probably remain in his homeland and refine his
game a
little longer. Look out in the future for this player as he has a nice
all-around package of skills. With an improvement in skating and a little
more
bulk, he could be a powerful, skilled player for the Stars.

Fourth Round Pick, #91
Overall-Alexei Tereschenko

And the chronicles related: “An explosive skater that is an
excellent
stick-handler, and was an All-Star at the ’00 WJC. While he is a finesse
player
that must work on his play away from the puck, he is still a hard worker and
competitor despite this shortcoming.

A flashy player that needs some work, but this was a great
pick in this spot.”

Oddly enough, Tereschenko’s initial mark in the
Superleague was made as a reliable defensive player. With two years of
development, the offense has started to come around. A natural leader who
works
hard all the time, Tereschenko has become a threat after adapting to the
Superleague and getting ice time due to his good passing vision and skating
ability. Now molded into much more of a two-way player, Tereschenko has also
showed enough to play for Team Russia in one of the Eurotour events,
registering
an assist. Given his size and skills, Tereschenko appears to be a Russian
near-copy of current rookie Niko Kapanen. This similarity may limit his
usefulness to the Stars, especially in the short term, however.

Fourth Round Pick, #123
Overall-Vadim Khomitsky

The available reports revealed about him: “Is a steady
stay-at-home type defenseman
who has good mobility, and should take several years to develop in
Russia.

Little known about this prospect, but picking a European
defenseman makes sense.”

One of the quietest rookies in this draft, Khomitsky has
developed slowly in the Russian Superleague. He is still more of a physical,
aggressive, stay-at-home guy than anything but over the years has also added
an
offensive dimension to his game. He has good instincts in leading and
joining
the rush as well as above average passing skills, but his shot is average. A
solid
skater, Khomitsky is at his best in his own end where he can control the
game,
usually physically. His defensive positioning is somewhat reliable and
should
improve as he gains experience in the pros. Though not a superstar caliber
player, Khomitsky has a nice package that may be intriguing to the Stars in
a
couple of years. Already having made a splash signing Alexei Komarov over
the
summer, Khomitsky
may be on the radar as well.

A Few Notes

As an end to this story, let us shift the focus back to
Stars prospects in general to bring to light some things that may be of
interest
to Stars fans or fans in general.

Recently, the Stars had five players representing national
teams at the Sweden Hockey Games. Eurotour events are usually used as
barometers
to gauge the ability of players to compete on the international stage.
Strong
showings in these events can help a player’s case to make a country’s World
Championship squad. The five players competing played for three nations.
Mathias
Tjärnqvist and Joel Lundqvist suited up for Sweden while Alexei Tereschenko
and
Ruslan Bernikov joined the Russian squad. Teemu Elomo was the Stars’ lone
representative for Finland.

One of the Stars’ top prospects, Mike Ryan, recently
conducted a question
and answer session
with Hockey
East Online
. Go and take a look into his reasoning for staying in
college
and more.

Though a little past the halfway point now, the
Unofficial Utah Grizzlies Fansite had graded
the Grizzlies roster
at the midpoint of the season. That roster has
changed
now, but the nuggets of information
on Stars prospects is still worth the trip.