Progress Reports on Stars Prospects Ranked 11-20

By Geoffrey Ussery

The progress of the prospects in the
bottom half of the Top 20 this season was a mixed bag. Some of the lesser known
prospects made gains in their game over the course of the year while the games
of some of the better known prospects stagnated. For comprehensive
statistics on these prospects, please check the
recent statistics article
.

Name

Position

Rank

Pr.
Rank

Change

ont face=”Arial” size=”2″>Dan
Ellis

G

11

8

Down 3 positions

Like
nearly all the Stars goaltending prospects, UN-Omaha butterfly goaltender Dan
Ellis had what can only be termed an off year. Viewed as one of the top college
goalies going into the year because of his excellent first two college seasons,
Ellis struggled to find his previous form, and his team suffered for it. The
UN-Omaha team is not all that awe-inspiring and has relied heavily on Ellis in
the past. Perhaps the weight of carrying a
team finally got to him. Ellis has traditionally been a slow starter and come on
strong later, but this habit is worrisome, especially when he fails to play as
well as he can for an entire year. Currently, Ellis’s reflexes and technique
are quite good so it stands to reason that some mental block might have gotten
in his way, or perhaps, he was nursing a minor injury. Whatever the case, what
is certain is that if Ellis definitely wants a contract with the Stars following
his senior year, he needs to re-find his game.

Name

Position

Rank

Pr.
Rank

Change

David
Bararuk

LW

12

18

Up 6 positions

Already signed to a three-year entry contract by the Stars, Moose Jaw Warriors
forward David Bararuk had a very good year in the WHL. A fifth round pick in
last year’s draft, Bararuk hovered near the lead in WHL scoring for the entire
year, mostly as a set-up man. He is starting to look like quite a steal, but he
might be a little small to transition his junior game to the pros easily. The
quick, skilled forward had opted out of his original draft year because of a
time lost due to a broken arm, so as an older prospect, he lasted deeper into
the draft. Bararuk also played well in the post season for his club, but it is
hoped his inability to consistently produce when his team was behind was due to
tight checking on Bararuk and not a lack of clutch instinct. Slated to join Utah
at the start of next year unless he has a stellar camp, Bararuk should be an
asset to what may be a depleted AHL team depending on the outcome of the Stars’
attempts to get a team to share the Grizzlies. His quickness, competitive drive,
and all-around offensive prowess might get him a prime spot on Utah’s roster.
Though not one of the top-end prospects yet, Bararuk is one to watch out for in
the future. A couple of good years in the AHL might just propel him to a spot on
the Stars.

Name

Position

Rank

Pr.
Rank

Change

Tobias
Stephan

G

13

10

Down 3 positions

Young Swiss goalie Tobias Stephan had a rocky year
just like his counterparts. When Stephan was on, he was great, much like Jason
Bacashihua, but when he was cold, he was not good at all. Stephan played a great
deal for the Kloten Flyers, and this may have taken a toll on him during the
year. The big, nimble goalie’s numbers were relatively good in the Swiss
Nationalliga during the regular season, but it is quite clear that there is
plenty of room for improvement. The big disappointments came at the WJC. Stephan
was a key to any success that the Swiss team was going to have at the
tournament, and he responded by playing not nearly as well as he could. His
playoff season also left a lot to be desired as he was not able to keep his team
close. There’s still a bit of work ahead of Stephan before he’s going to be a
capable NHLer, but with the Stars’ depth in goal there’s no rush to get him
there. The lack of pressure might just be enough to get him to turn the corner.

Name

Position

Rank

Pr.
Rank

Change

Alexei
Tereschenko

C

14

13

Down 1 position

The Stars top prospect in Russia, Alexei
Tereschenko plays a game that is not all that dissimilar to rookie Niko Kapanen.
A smart, quick, and skilled player, Tereschenko had a decent season for Dynamo
Moscow. His offensive numbers do not really explain his value, and he could
still produce more. A natural leader, Tereschenko has already made a mark as one
of Dynamo Moscow’s key players, but much more in a two-way role than as a
offensive force. He is starting to garner a little attention in the nationwide
scene as evidenced by his first Eurotour appearance this year, but he basically
has flown under the radar. Increased production probably would set him on the
fast track to North America as would adding muscle to his immature body. Despite
the promise, Tereschenko will probably have a rough go of making the Stars with
Kapanen firmly in place now. If he has an NHL future, it may well be with
another team.

Name

Position

Rank

Pr.
Rank

Change

Marius
Holtet

C

15

14

Down 1 position

One of the surprise second round picks in last
year’s Entry Draft, Marius Holtet did some definite growing this year. Viewed
mostly as a sleeper pick, Holtet is a physical, skilled, and hard-working
forward with a lot of potential. While he is not anywhere near NHL-ready at the
moment in a few years, he might be near the top of this list. Starting the year
in the little publicized third tier of the Swedish system, Holtet played very
well. He was producing fairly consistently and also a physical menace despite
his smallish size. His play earned him a promotion to the second tier team
Bofors for the key part of the season. Though he did not play much, Holtet
managed a few points, but his play did show a need to improve his defensive
awareness. Holtet also shone on the international stage for Norway this year. At
his WJC section, he led second place Norway in scoring. Also, he was invited to
play with the men’s team in their WC section. Though his role was very, very
minor, the fact that he was invited as an eighteen year old is quite
encouraging. Altogether, Holtet had an great year. Though he still has a lot of
work to do in some areas of his game, there is lots of cause for hope if he can
repeat this year’s rapid progress.

Name

Position

Rank

Pr.
Rank

Change

Jarkko
A. Immonen

C

16

15

Down 1 position

It is way too early to say for sure, but Jarkko A.
Immonen might be the next in what is becoming a trend of the Stars finding
talented Finns in hidden down in the draft. Much like Antti Miettinen and Jussi
Jokinen before did him, Immonen stayed among the leaders in scoring in the
Finnish Junior A league. While this is promising, Immonen must still make the
SM-Liiga first. In all likelihood, he should be able to find a spot next year
with the Espoo Blues and should join Finland’s WJC squad as well. The smallish,
talented center has a sniper’s instincts, but needs to add strength and play
better in traffic to make better use of his natural talents. He could also use
some improvement on his defensive game. Immonen is another guy to keep a look
out for in the future. With Dallas’s track record with players of this type, he
may be the next late round find.

Name

Position

Rank

Pr.
Rank

Change

Mike
Smith

G

17

NR

Entered at No. 17

The least known Dallas goaltending prospect may have
had the most memorable year out of all of them. Splitting time between the ECHL
and AHL, Mike Smith showed good promise in his first pro year. His numbers were
not sparkling at either level, but he did at least show he belongs. In the ECHL,
he posted decent numbers and also registered a goal and a shutout in his first
professional win. That goal also made him the youngest goalie to score a goal in
any professional league. However, his playoff performance there was quite
dismal. In the AHL, where he played while Corey Hirsch was required in Dallas,
his numbers were comparable to those of Jason Bacashihua. A big, feisty goalie
with a good glove hand, Smith might be a hidden gem. His main problems at the
moment are technical in that he needs better rebound control and must learn to
play more effectively with his size. He will be joining Bacashihua in Utah next
year, and maybe the competition will help both of them to improve.

Name

Position

Rank

Pr.
Rank

Change

Janos
Vas

RW

18

16

Down 2 positions

Back in Sweden, the other shocking second rounder
out of last year’s draft had a decent showing. Janos Vas played in each of the
SEL, the second tier league, and the Under-20 junior league at some point during the
year. He started bouncing between the SEL, where he saw very limited ice time,
and the junior league, where he was among the top forwards. His junior league
performance was good, but more goal scoring would have been welcome. Finally, he
was sent to IF Troja/Ljungby in the second tier league. There, Vas still did not
have a prime role, but he managed to rack up a few points. The aggressive,
versatile forward needs to get more ice time to develop his skills before he
will be a fixture in the SEL. Until he can make it in the SEL, he has little
hope of reaching the Stars. It is still early yet, but if his performance for
Hungary at their WJC competition is any indication, though the competition can
hardly be called fierce, there is significant talent that he has yet to tap.

Name

Position

Rank

Pr.
Rank

Change

Geoff
Waugh

D

19

NR

Entered at No. 19

In his first NCAA year, Geoff Waugh showed the
reliability expected of him by the Stars. Another in a line of Stars’ drafting
trends, Waugh is a solid defensive defenseman with possibly a little offensive
upside. He played well positionally and physically, but only provided a few
assists on the year. Next season, Waugh’s role should expand with the University
of Northern Michigan, and perhaps with the increased responsibility will come
increased offense. Having three more years to work on his raw talents, he could
come out of college a different player than he went in as.

Name

Position

Rank

Pr.
Rank

Change

Artem
Chernov

C

20

NR

Entered at No. 20

Back in Russia, Artem Chernov put
together his best season since his magical 2000-01 season. He has adjusted to
his different role with Avangard Omsk, which is very top heavy with Czech stars.
After his plummet from the top of the game to just a mid-level player, it is
really unclear what his future is. There is almost certainly more scoring
ability in him, but he is unlikely to get the chance to try to find it in his
current locale. Perhaps a shift to North America is just what he needs, but he
suffers from the same problem as Tereschenko. As a small center with a moderate
skill level and some defensive responsibility, he is unlikely to find a place
with the Stars because of Niko Kapanen’s presence. His biggest asset over the
other two is that he is a better sniper than either Kapanen or Tereschenko, but
that is not likely to be enough.

If you have burning questions about the Stars’ prospects, please send them to the e-mail address at the top of the article. It may get answered in an upcoming article.

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