The Dallas Stars Top 20 prospect list consists of 10 forwards, three goaltenders and seven defensemen.
1. (1) Trevor Daley, D – 21 – (2002 Draft Pick, 43rd overall)
Defenseman Trevor Daley again tops the list of Dallas prospects. After playing 40 games with the AHL Utah Grizzlies and 27 games with the Stars last season, he was assigned to the AHL Hamilton Bulldogs this season. A strong skater with good speed, Daley is a mobile defenseman who is also skilled offensively. A regular point man on the power play, he had four goals on the man advantage. In 78 games this season, Daley was tops among defensemen in scoring with 27 assists and 34 points. He was -4 on the year.
2. (6) Shawn Belle, D – 20 – (Trade acquisition from St. Louis – 2003 Draft Pick, 30th overall)
With a career high season in goals, assists and points, matched with a gold medal win with Team Canada at the 2005 World Junior Hockey Championships, Shawn Belle has moved up four spots into second among Dallas prospects. The big, athletic defenseman played in his fourth full season with the Tri-City Americans of the WHL this year. A good two-way defenseman, Belle is a strong skater with great acceleration and a good shot. In 62 games this season he was third in scoring on the Americans with 45 points and he had 32 assists and 76 penalty minutes.
3. (5) Loui Eriksson, RW – 19 – (2003 Draft Pick, 33rd overall)
Loui Eriksson moves into third spot on the Dallas top 20. He played most of this season with Vastra Frolunda in the Swedish Elite League before joining Bofors of the Swe-1 league for two games. In 2003-04 he was named top rookie in the Elite League with eight goals and five assists in 46 games. He was a member of Team Sweden at the 2005 World Junior Hockey Championships. Strong along the boards, Eriksson is willing to go to the net where he is able to get many of his goals from close range. He is also an excellent skater who plays a physical game. In 39 games with Frolunda this season he had five goals and nine assists.
4. (4) Antti Miettinen, LW – 24 – (2000 Draft Pick, 224th overall)
Antti Miettinen split his time between the Utah Grizzlies and Dallas Stars last season. In 16 games with the Stars he had one goal and had 30 points in 48 games with the Grizzlies. The two-way winger does not shy away from physical play. Known for being a strong skater and a good playmaker he also has a strong shot. Miettinen got a late start to the season after shoulder surgery in the fall of 2004. In 35 games with the Hamilton Bulldogs, he had eight goals and 28 points. He was second on the team in plus/minus with +11.
5. (8) Jussi Jokinen, LW – 22 – (2001 Draft Pick, 192nd overall)
Jussi Jokinen had a career year in his fourth season with Karpat of the Finnish Elite League in 2004-05, leading this strong team in scoring. A strong skater with good hands and instincts, Jokinen has a quick release on a good shot. He is known for his hard work on the ice and is often found wherever the puck is. In 56 games this season he bested all point totals from previous years in the league with 23 goals and 24 points.
6. (7) Johan Fransson, D – 20 – (2004 Draft Pick, 34th overall)
A contender for rookie of the year in the Swedish Elite League last season after posting three goals and three assists in 44 games for Lulea, Johan Fransson had a poor 2004-05 season and at times he was even out of the line-up in Luleå.. He was also a member of Team Sweden at the 2005 World Junior Hockey Championships. A mobile player who can move the puck well, he is a strong skater who doesn’t shy away from playing physical – despite his 183 pounds. In 43 games this season with Lulea he posted one goal, six assists and 30 penalty minutes.
7. (NR) Niklas Grossman, D – 20 – (2004 Draft Pick, 56th overall)
Niklas Grossman cracks the Top 20 at No. 7 after missing the cut last time around. He saw more ice time this season with Sodertalje of the Swedish Elite League this season. Playing only one game last year with the club and the rest with Sodertalje’s junior team, he appeared in 31 games in 2004-05. A defensive, stay-at-home defenseman with strength and good reach, Grossman is a tough man to beat one-on-one. He had two assists and 14 penalty minutes with Sodertalje this season.
8. (11) Mark Fistric, D – 18 – (2004 Draft Pick, 28th overall)
Due to a broken jaw, Mark Fistric saw limited action with the Vancouver Giants in 2004-05. In 2004 he was Vancouver’s defenseman of the year and played in the CHL Top Prospects game. A large, defensive defenseman at 6’2 and 232 lbs., he plays a physical, intimidating game and his 192 penalty minutes last season reflect his style. He played in only 15 games this season and managed six points and 32 penalty minutes.
9. (10) Yared Hagos, C – 22 – (2001 Draft Pick, 70th overall)
Yared Hagos has captained Swedish junior teams in the past and this is due to his strong leadership skills. Playing with Timra in the Swedish Elite League he had nine goals and 20 points in 48 games last season. A hard working player with good work ethic, Hagos has good hands and plays well defensively and on the penalty kill. In 49 games with Timra this season he had 15 assists and 21 points.
10. (2) Junior Lessard, RW – 24 – (Free agent signing, 2004)
After four years with the University of Minnesota-Duluth, Junior Lessard joined the Houston Aeros this season. In 2004 he captured the Hobey Baker award as college hockey’s top player after posting 32 goals and 31 assists in 45 games. A strong, smart player, Lessard is not afraid to go to the front of the net where he uses his good hands and instincts to put the puck in the net. In 71 games with the Aeros this season he had 11 goals and 22 points.
11. (3) Dan Ellis, G – 24 – (2000 Draft Pick, 60th overall)
Dan Ellis is currently the top ranked goaltending prospect for the Stars. He backstopped three teams last seaons, 20 games with the Utah Grizzlies where he had five wins and two shutouts, in 23 games with the Idaho Steelheads in the ECHL he had 13 wins and two shutouts and in his only start with the Dallas Stars he posted a win. An agile, butterfly style goalie, Ellis has very good reflexes and stays focused and composed in tough situations. He had 10 wins and one shutout in 31 games this season with the Hamilton Bulldogs.
12. (18) Mike Smith, G – 23 – (2001 Draft Pick, 161st overall)
Mike Smith missed the end of last season with a knee injury, but managed to play 21 games with the Utah Grizzlies and was even called up by the Stars as a backup. He posted eight wins and two shutouts in 2003-04. At 6’3 and 195 lbs., Smith has good size which he uses to cover a lot of the net and he also boasts some good puckhandling skills. In 45 games this season with the Houston Aeros he had 19 wins and five shutouts.
13. (9) Vojtech Polak, LW – 19 – (2003 Draft Pick, 36th overall)
Vojtech Polak split his time between Dukla and Karlovy this season in the Czech Elite League. In 2003-04 he played 44 games with Karlovy notching eight assists and 42 penalty minutes and played one game with Sparta where he had one goal in one game. Possessing a great wrist shot and a powerful slap shot, Polak plays smart and is very competitive. Between Dukla and Karlovy this season he had two goals and nine points.
14. (14) Brandon Crombeen, RW – 19 – (2003 Draft Pick, 54th overall)
Staying steady in the rankings, Brandon Crombeen also posted similar numbers to his totals last season with the Barrie Colts. In 2003-04 he was named to the Eastern Conference team at the OHL All-Star Game. In 62 games with the Colts last season he was third on the team with 21 goals and 50 points – he led the team in penalty minutes with 154. Strong and competitive, Crombeen is a physical player who uses his size effectively in the corners and along the boards. In 63 games this season he had the second highest goal total on the team with 31 and came out with 49 points and 111 penalty minutes.
15. (17) Matt Nickerson, D – 20 – (2003 Draft Pick, 99th overall)
Matt Nickerson played his first season in the QMJHL in 2004-05 with the Victoriaville Tigres after playing in the NCAA last season for Clarkson University. In 38 games with Clarkson last season he had five goals, 14 points and his 179 penalty minutes were not only the most on his team, but set a single season record for ECAC teams. At 6’4 and 235 lbs., Nickerson has great size and strength and uses it to play a very physical game and give out punishing hits. In 48 games with Victoriaville this season he one goal, 12 points and led the team in penalty minutes with 182.
16. (13) David Bararuk, LW – 21 – (2002 Draft Pick, 147th overall)
David Bararuk split his time this season between the Louisiana IceGators of the ECHL and the Houston Aeros of the AHL. He played for two teams in 2003-04 as well, the Utah Grizzlies and the ECHL Idaho Steelheads. A hard working player, Bararuk possesses good speed and a strong shot. In 42 games with the IceGators this season he had 14 goals and 36 points and in 15 games with Houston he had two goals and four points. Bararuk has joined the Steelheads for their playoff run.
17. (NR) Geoff Waugh, D – 21 – (2002 Draft Pick, 78th overall)
Not ranked last time around, Geoff Waugh breaks into the top 20 in the 17th spot. He has played each of the last three seasons with Northern Michigan University. In 41 games last season he had two goals, 14 points and his 72 penalty minutes were second most of any player on the team. A very big defenseman at 6’3 and 210 lbs., Waugh is a consistent player who plays a physical style. In 39 games this season he had two goals, 10 points and 89 penalty minutes.
18. (NR) Gino Guyer, C – 21 – (2003 Draft Pick, 165th overall)
Breaking into the top 20 in the 18th spot, Gino Guyer has played the last three seasons at the University of Minnesota. In 44 games last season he had 11 goals and 32 points. Very athletic, Guyer also excelled in football and baseball in high school. He was named Mr. Hockey in 2002 in Minnesota for being the state’s most outstanding player and was also named Player of the Year by the Associated Press in both his junior and senior years of high school. Guyer is a leader on the ice and has excellent offensive ability. In 43 games this season he had 11 goals and 30 points.
19. (16) Raymond Sawada, RW – 20 – (2004 Draft Pick, 52nd overall)
Raymond Sawada played in his first season with Cornell University in 2004-05 after spending last season with the Nanaimo Clippers of the BCHL. In 54 games last season he had 52 points and added 22 points in 25 playoff games where he helped his team win the BCHL championship. Sawada was also named Nanaimo’s rookie of the year. He has shown the potential to be a power forward and has good speed. Sawada also has good puck control and is a threat to shoot or pass. In 35 games with Cornell this season he had four goals, nine points and 48 penalty minutes.
20. (12) Tobias Stephan, G – 21 – (2002 Draft Pick, 34th overall)
Tobias Stephan has played the last three seasons with Kloten in the Swiss League. He had a shortened season last year playing only 26 games due to a hip injury, but managed to post 14 wins and five shutouts. With a butterfly style of play and quick reflexes, Stephan challenges shooters and shows good composure in pressure situations. In 44 games with Kloten this season he had 19 wins and four shutouts.
Missing the cut – Joel Lundqvist
Courtney Wagner, Dan Linn, Sean Keogh, Pekka Lampinen, Johan Nilsson, and Holly Gunning contributed to this article. Copyright 2005 Hockey’s Future. Do not duplicate without permission of the editorial staff.