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.
The Dallas Stars continue to exhibit a very balanced prospect group where a good variety of player types abound. They have a veritable cornucopia of players designated as prospects by Hockey’s Future’s standards – 42 in all, including 18 defensemen (not including Jamie Oleksiak and Jyrki Jokipakka). As a result, some very noteworthy players such as bulky winger Brett Ritchie, QMJHL champion goalie Philippe Desrosiers and the Swedish defense duo of Patrik Nemeth and Mattias Backman will not be mentioned below.
Movement abounds in the newest Dallas Stars Top 20 list. The acquisitions of Mattias Backman, Mattias Janmark and, most recently, Stephen Johns all make their respective impacts while two 2015 draft picks make the list as well. Meanwhile, three defensemen graduate the prospects list for regular NHL duty: John Klingberg, Jamie Oleksiak and Jyrki Jokipakka. The Stars also bid adieu to Ludwig Karlsson and 2009 top ten pick Scott Glennie, neither of whom received a qualifying offer.
With former GM Joe Nieuwendyk out and former Red Wings GM Jim Nill in, the Dallas Stars seem to be even more European-friendly than usual these days. A number of young European professionals in their ranks covered the entire success/disappointment spectrum over the course of the 2014-15 season. The NCAA ranks have largely thinned out due to graduation. Devin Shore and Michael Prapavessis, the only two remaining at the collegiate level, both had very strong finishes to their respective seasons and Shore has turned professional. Overall, the Stars’ European defense pipeline continues to be very sturdy.