With the playoffs underway, the Dallas Stars have proven adept at acquiring top-shelf NHL talent under General Manager Jim Nill, who has now been at the helm for three years. Other avenues of procurement have yet to pay such immediate dividends, but the Stars have some good players in every major league – including college hockey and the European leagues. Although some of the players are off the radar for the casual fan – and perhaps even management – others put together some encouraging work in the 2015-16 season.
The Dallas Stars have been a finely-tuned offensive machine in the 2015-16 season, which is good because the prospect pool is a little short on elite-level talent. Nor is the situation helped by the loss of Brett Pollock to Calgary in the Kris Russell trade, and the graduation of Mattias Janmark. A good mix of intelligent players and useful depth players make up most of the pipeline. Standout players like Julius Honka and power forward Brett Ritchie do provide impact upside.
After making nine picks per draft for the previous three drafts, the Dallas Stars may have felt as if they had some room to play with their 2015 picks. They came into the weekend a touch shorthanded due to previous trades and then exchanged their seventh round choice for the rights to goaltender Antti Niemi. All told, the Stars made five selections. With the 12th pick, they provided probably the first real surprise of the draft when they selected Russian winger Denis Guryanov.
There’s a large sign at the entrance of the Holiday Inn in Dubuque, host city of the 2015 USHL/NHL Top Prospects Game, that lists the number of NHL Draft picks that have come out of the United States Hockey League (USHL) in recent years. In 2010, 22 players were selected. Last year it was 35, plus 16 alums that were drafted out of NCAA hockey. This year, 54 USHL players, plus six alums, are listed on NHL Central Scouting’s “Watch List” and have the potential to be selected this year. Read more»