Stars CHL prospects update

By Gregory Maker

The Dallas Stars currently have five players playing major junior hockey in North America. Of these, three play in the OHL and two play in the WHL. James Neal, a left wing for the Plymouth Whalers (OHL) is the Stars’ top rated CHL prospect. First round pick Mark Fistric of the Vancouver Giants (WHL) is the club’s top rated CHL defenseman.

Last season, the Stars had 11 total players in the CHL. B.J. Crombeen is now in the AHL playing for Iowa along with WHL product Shawn Belle, and QMJHL alumni Mario Scalzo and Francis Wathier.

OHL

James Neal, LW – Plymouth Whalers – Drafted 2005, Round 2, 33rd overall

The 6’3 190-pounder from Oshawa, Ontario is second in assists among the Whalers with 19 en route to 27 points in 25 games. Five of Neal’s six goals are on the power play, second on the team. Neal has increased his rate of penalty minutes this season, with 32 compared to 34 minutes in 67 games all of last season.

Neal is scoring at 1.08 points per game, helping the Whalers to second place in the West Division with a 13-8-1-3 record. In only one-third the games played from last season, Neal is already more than halfway to passing last year’s numbers. Neal has had point streaks of five and six games, as well as another streak of four consecutive games.

Richard Clune, LW – Sarnia Sting – Drafted 2005, Round 3, 71st overall

Dallas’ third round selection at last year’s draft is in his third season in Sarnia. The 5’11 204-pound Toronto, Ontario native has 19 points (7 goals, 12 assists) in 23 games this season. Clune finished with 34 points all of last season. He needs one more assist to tie last season’s total.

Clune plays a physical game. He is a good skater who is not afraid to go into corners to dig out the puck. Clune is developing all areas of his game. He is used primarily as a checker and a penalty killer, but does have offensive flair.

Fredrik Naslund, RW – Peterborough Petes – Drafted 2004, Round 4, 104th overall

Naslund, 19, enters his first season of North American hockey, having played in the Swedish junior league last year. The 6’4 220-pounder is one of the biggest players in the OHL. Naslund is not a great skater, however, his skills with the puck help to make up for it – he has terrific puck control.

A work in progress, Naslund has 15 points and is +5 in 24 games, helping lead the Petes to tops in the league with a 20-3-1-0 record. Peterborough has the second best offense in the OHL and third best defense. Naslund has figured into the equation well. He is very disciplined with only 12 penalty minutes.

WHL

Mark Fistric, D – Vancouver Giants – Drafted 2004, Round 1, 28th overall

Fistric, 19, stands at 6’2 and weighs 230 pounds, a body he is not afraid to throw around. In 24 games this season, he has 62 penalty minutes. He adds toughness to Vancouver who are 15-7-0-4. The Edmonton, Alberta native has contributed to the team’s success with his willingness to take control physically on the ice. He has seven assists and is +1. He had his first multiple-point game for the Giants on Nov. 19th.

Fistric gets significant ice time with Vancouver both at even strength and on special teams. Fistric has good on-ice awareness as well as the ability to agitate. Fistric appeared in only 15 games last season after suffering a broken jaw twice. Fistric missed four months. The captain is back this year, on his game, and not showing any signs of being less aggressive. Fistric has been named to Team WHL for the ADT Canada-Russia Challenge.

John Lammers, LW – Everett Silvertips – Drafted 2004, Round 3, 86th overall

Lammers enters his final season in junior hockey with the Everett Silvertips after spending his first three with the Lethbridge Hurricanes. The 19-year-old demanded a trade from Lethbridge after amassing 124 points (55 goals, 69 assists) in 181 career games as a Hurricane. Lammers was traded with a fourth round Bantam pick to Everett for Curtis Billsten, Keegan Bourelle and a fifth round Bantam pick.

Named WHL player of the week for the period Oct. 24 to Oct. 30, he finished the week with five goals and 11 points and helped the Silvertips win four straight games.

Lammers has 27 total points (13 goals, 14 assists) this season in 27 games, second on Everett only to top 2006 prospect Peter Mueller, and placing him 25th in the league. He has been playing on a line with Mueller and right wing Brady Calla.

The Langley, BC native has only taken four penalty minutes this season. He brings leadership to Everett who currently lead the U.S. Division with a 15-12-1-0 record, despite an offensive drought and spate of injuries.

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