Photo: After notching 37 tallies a season ago, Matt Fraser is again leading the Texas Stars in the goal-scoring department in 2012-13. (courtesy of John Rivera/Icon SMI)
Another season, another bench boss in Cedar Park, Texas, where the Dallas Stars top minor league affiliate hones its skills and patiently waits. On their third coach in as many seasons, some of the more seasoned Stars have seen a number of different looks, schemes, and systems while a talented group of rookies is learning the professional game for the first time. Past the quarter pole, the Stars seem more than competent. They stand second in the division and fifth in the tight Western Conference.
Photo: After playing the past three seasons in Finland, defenseman Sami Vatanen made his way to North America and currently plays for the AHL affiliate of the Anaheim Ducks. (Rick Stewart/Getty Images)
Below is the middle section Hockey’s Future’s NHL Team Rankings. The teams are ranked in terms of the quality of their overall prospect pool as voted on by the staff of Hockey's Future. For reference, just the top five prospects are listed. To be eligible, a prospect must meet HF's prospect criteria. The rankings are done twice a year, with the second scheduled to be published in the Spring.
Photo: Colorado College forward and Dallas Stars prospect Scott Winkler's development was somewhat stunted in his first three NCAA seasons due to injuries, but he is off to a strong start in 2012-13 (courtesy of Casey B. Gibson)
Amidst a seesaw battle with Yale last weekend, Colorado College’s Scott Winkler sent Bulldog winger Anthony Day crumbling to the ice with a solid body check into the left corner boards at the World Arena. Instantaneously, Winkler set his sights on another Yale forward behind the Tigers net as he fiercely fought for possession of the puck in the defensive zone.
Photo: Center Gemel Smith has been a key contributor in every situation this season for the Owen Sound Attack, one of the OHL's top teams. (courtesy of Terry Wilson / OHL Images)
Despite some major graduations from the junior ranks in recent years, the Dallas Stars pipeline continues to churn mightily, especially at forward. The Stars feature some of the finest forwards in their respective leagues including Brett Ritchie and Radek Faksa in the OHL and Matej Stransky out west. The impressive amount of professional-level depth that the Stars have at forward will soon be augmented by these recently-drafted prospects that could fill a variety of roles within the organization. On the back line, Troy Vance is the lone junior prospect for Dallas and his progression has been that of race-winners – slow and steady. In all, the Stars have eight prospects at the major junior level.
Photo: University of Massachusetts-Lowell defenseman and Dallas Stars prospect Dmitry Sinitsyn is adjusting to NCAA hockey in his first season of college hockey (courtesy of Vaughn Winchell)
During the University of Massachusetts-Lowell's final game against Colorado College earlier this season, defenseman Dmitry Sinitsyn yelled to fellow blueliner Jake Suter in the offensive zone.