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

By Geoffrey Ussery

In the first two articles of the series, the Stars’ selections as they are
viewed now were individually compared with how they were seen immediately
after the draft.
Now, it is time to look the draft as a whole and see exactly how important
this
draft class is now that some of the prospects have had a chance to spread
their
wings.

The reviewer at the time had this to say about the draft:

This year’s draft had not only a decidedly European flavor, but it
also
had an offensive flavor as well, for most of the players drafted have good
puck
skills and speed, which is exactly what was needed within the system. While
they
only selected one defenseman and reached some for a goaltender, they had a
very
solid draft regardless. Even though it may not be as good as their ’97 draft
( 2
NHL’ers+3 potential NHL’ers), this draft will go down as being influential
in
starting a solid base of skill players for the future.

My Grade: a solid B

All in all, it was a good view to have on the draft class at the time. A
great deal of the selections have turned out to be sleeper-type picks, in
other
words, players that showed some promise but needed some time to put things
together a bit more. There was a high number of European selections as well,
and
as these players have been left to mature in Europe, a few have blossomed.
Just for the record, however, it turned out that the ’97
draft class was  not that great. Brenden Morrow and Roman
Lyashenko
are the only players to have seen significant time at the NHL
level while there are three others in the system that have little chance of
making it to the show (Gainey, Kristoffersson, and
Komarov).
So that makes one NHL’er, one fringe NHL’er (at this point), and three minor
league long-shots for the ’97 draft.

Now let us break the 2000 draftees into four separate categories:
top-end
prospects
, solid prospects, long-shot prospects, and
low-end
prospects
. Top-end prospects are considered to be those who have
a very good
chance of being successful in the NHL at some point in their careers, while

solid prospects
are those who have a decent shot at the NHL but may not
be able
to make it due to some shortcoming or depth. Long-shot prospects are
those who
are wild-cards to make the NHL; they generally have some promise, but for
one
reason or another lack something to even be considered a solid prospect. The

low-end prospects
are those who have almost no chance at the NHL in any
case.

Top-End Prospects:
3 (Steve Ott, Joel Lundqvist, Antti
Miettinen)

At the draft, it was hard to say that any of the prospects that Dallas
had
drafted were sure to make the NHL. Ott looked like he could since he lead
his
team in scoring as a rookie, but no one else really stood out at the time.
Push
forward a bit, and now, Ott has proven himself as a star player in the OHL
and
is already producing in the NHL after getting a call-up and sticking.
Lundqvist
has improved markedly and was one of the top players in the SEL for much of
this
season. Finally, Antti Miettinen has repeated his breakout season in the
SM-Liiga,
giving credence to him as a very good prospect who may be in the NHL as
early as
next year. These three have all come a long way since they were drafted, but
aside from Ott, it remains to be seen if they will be able to stick and aid
the
Stars in the NHL. Chance are good, however, that one or both of Miettinen
and
Lundqvist will develop into nice NHL players given the type of games they
play.

Solid Prospects: 2 (Dan Ellis,
Alexei Tereschenko) 

One was viewed as a reach and the other as a flashy player that needed
work.
After a few years, both are looking like solid selections. Ellis is a very
good
goaltending prospect that is remarkably little known around the league. He
may
have been viewed as a reach then, but he has shown extended flashes of
brilliance that suggest he could have a bright future. Still, the
goaltending
depth chart is deep, and he must rebound from this sub-par year to make a
better
case for himself. Tereschenko has slowly evolved into a good two-way hockey
player with
still enough skill and speed to be deemed a flashy player. A solid prospect
with
still a little room to improve, it will nonetheless be difficult for
Tereschenko
to make a mark in the NHL with the Stars with Niko Kapanen now firmly
entrenched
on the roster.

Long-Shot Prospects: 3 (Vadim
Khomitsky, Artem Chernov, Ruslan Bernikov)

Three Russian prospects all with nice upside reside in the long-shot
section
of the draft list. Each of them has the capability to be a good prospect but
all
have question marks on their game. With Chernov, it resides with the
question
whether that excellent 2000-2001 year was a fluke or a true indicator of his
talent. With Bernikov, his chance hinges on whether he has the heart and
willingness to use his physical gifts to become an NHL player. Khomitsky,
however, could use just a bit more seasoning and tune up his game a little
more
to make his case a bit better.

Low-End Prospects: 2 (Marco
Tuokko,
Ladislav Vlcek)

Both Tuokko and Vlcek are non-factors for the Stars’ NHL plans. Tuokko is
a
third line player in Finland with little more room to grow, and Vlcek is a
journeyman in the Czech Extraliga. Neither will really add anything to the
Stars
roster, so they are better off just staying in their respective
counrties.

Putting it all together, it appears that the Stars selected three
prospects with
very good chances to make the NHL, two with decent shots, and three more
that
are long-shots. Considering that two of those top-end prospects came from
the
third and seventh rounds, it makes the draft look very good throughout.
There
are a couple of picks toward the end that are far from special, but
altogether,
the Stars made very good to decent picks all the way through. Two steals and
several other good picks were not usual for the Stars’ drafting record in
the
mid-1990’s, so this is a very refreshing change. Right now, this draft is
forming the backbone of the Stars’ system with 4 prospects ranking in the HF
Stars’ Top 10 (Ott, Miettinen, Lundqvist, and Ellis) and another in the Top
20
(Tereschenko). It already appears like it could be better than the ’97 draft
referred to by the reviewer, but time will tell since only one player has
yet
made it to the NHL.

The only thing that is left is to slap a grade on the draft performance
now.
As mentioned, with half of the selected prospects forming a quarter of the
Stars’ top prospects, this draft should receive a good grade. While it does
not
look like there are any potential superstars, there are three prospects who
are
good candidates for at least an NHL third line. Add in that there is a
potential
starter in goal and another quality prospect at forward, not even mentioning
the
long-shots who could turn out to be players too, and the case becomes even
stronger. Without further ado, here is the moment some of you have been
waiting
for!

2003 Grade for the 2000 Draft Class: high
A-
(with still more room for improvement)