Stars Top 20 prospects, Spring 2010

By Mike Farkas

With Ivan Vishnevskiy’s departure, Scott Glennie takes on the top spot on the Dallas Top 20 list for the first time in his young career. The number of late-round picks – particularly fifth rounders – in the Stars top 20 is quite high. The high-end talent and depth leave something to be desired compared to other teams, but the system has been replenished to an adequate degree.

Top 20 at a glance

1. (3) Scott Glennie, RW
2. (4) Philip Larsen, D
3. (6) Alex Chiasson, RW
4. (5) Ondrej Roman, C/LW
5. (12) Perttu Lindgren, C
6. (7) Richard Bachman, G
7. (15) Curtis McKenzie, LW
8. (9) Matt Tassone, C
9. (13) Colton Sceviour, RW
10. (11) Sergei Korostin, RW
11. (16) Austin Smith, RW
12. (19) Tomas Vincour, RW
13. (14) Tyler Beskorowany, G
14. (NR) Reilly Smith, RW
15. (10) Raymond Sawada, RW
16. (18) Scott Winkler, C
17. (NR) Tristan King, C
18. (NR) Hubert Labrie, D
19. (NR) Nico Sacchetti, C
20. (NR) Aaron Gagnon, C

Current Rank (Old Rank) Name, Pos – Grade, Current club
Draft position – Age

1. (3) Scott Glennie, RW – 7.5C, Brandon Wheat Kings (WHL)
1st round (8th overall) in 2009 – Age: 19

Glennie makes the leap to the No. 1 spot after Ivan Vishnevskiy was traded to Atlanta and Jamie Benn graduated. Glennie was Dallas’ top pick in 2009 and has put together another excellent season in the WHL. He’s set to surpass career highs in goals, assists and points. Glennie has been a major cog on the offensive juggernaut Brandon Wheat Kings in 2009-10. He’s one of six Brandon regulars who is posting a point per game or better as the season winds down.

Due to some nagging earlier injuries, Glennie got off to a shaky start and had some up-and-down stretches throughout the first part of the year. However, he has been red hot over the past month and is propelling the Wheat Kings to new heights.

2. (4) Philip Larsen, D – 7.5C, Vastra Frolunda (SEL)
5th round (149th overall) in 2008 – Age: 20

Entering his fourth season in the Elitserien, Philip Larsen has already gained plenty of experience in the top men’s league in Sweden. For a defenseman who just turned 20, he has a myriad of experience both internationally and professionally, having represented Denmark on the international stage in major competition every year since 2005-06.

Larsen’s offensive numbers have slowed a bit as compared to last season but some of that can be chalked up to the acquisition of Christian Backman by Vastra Frolunda. Larsen continues to strengthen his two-way game and his plus-5 rating this year ranks him third among club defensemen. Larsen is expected to challenge for an NHL gig next October.

3. (6) Alex Chiasson, RW – 7.0C, Boston University (NCAA)
2nd round (38th overall) in 2009 – Age: 19

Chiasson has started off his collegiate campaign on the right foot. He leads Boston University’s freshman forwards in scoring with 18 points through 31 games. He’s made a virtually seamless transition from the USHL and as long as he continues to improve his foot speed and strength, and keeps his work ethic up, he’ll be on track for the NHL.

Chiasson, already a hulking 6’4 power forward, has undeniable skill. His attention to detail defensively should improve under the tutelage head coach Jack Parker.

4. (5) Ondrej Roman, C/LW
– 7.0D, HC Vitkovice (CZE)
5th round (136th overall) in 2007 – Age: 21

From bouncing back and forth between center and left wing to bouncing back and forth between North America and Europe, it’s been a strange development path for Ondrej Roman. After splitting the season between Spokane (WHL) and HC Vitkovice of the top Czech league, Roman returned to the Czech Extraliga. But he has not thrived with limited time and opportunity in a top men’s league, recording just three points in 26 games.

Contrarily, the playmaking forward has been signed to an entry-level contract by Dallas and will report to Texas of the AHL and commence his professional career in North America. The AHL time will give Roman a legitimate chance to show off his skills professionally and will be a welcome addition to a team that lost some overall scoring punch thanks to the Vishnevskiy trade.

5. (12) Perttu Lindgren, C – 7.0D, Texas Stars (AHL)
3rd round (75th overall) in 2005 – Age: 22

Another player who has spent some time on both sides of the pond is Perttu Lindgren. He has returned from a loan to Lukko Rauma (SM-Liiga) and has suited up once again for the Stars top affiliate. At the three-quarters pole, Lindgren leads the Texas Stars in assists and is one point out from the team lead in points. He saw spot duty in one NHL game this season.

Lindgren is an adept passer and possesses excellent hands. He has seen some time on the left wing this year but is rarely used on the top line; he collects many of his points on the man advantage. With Lindgren back in North America and producing at a high level, he should get a strong look in Dallas’ camp next summer.

6. (7) Richard Bachman, G – 7.0D, Idaho Steelheads (ECHL)
4th round pick (120th overall) in 2006 – Age: 22

Bachman left college after just two years and made the jump to the Stars minor league system. He’s spent most of the season in the ECHL where he’s played quite well in split time with Rejean Beauchemin. He has posted a 17-5-3 record with a 2.18 GAA and .912 save percentage and has outplayed Beauchemin as of late. Bachman’s seen a few starts in Texas over the course of the season, posting a .500 record.

Bachman has excellent reflexes and a quick glove hand but due to his relatively diminutive size, he may struggle to make it at the next level. It seems likely that he’ll get the chance to move up a step in the Stars organization next season given his early success in the ECHL.

7. (15) Curtis McKenzie, LW – 7.0D, Miami University (NCAA)
6th round pick (159th overall) in 2009 – Age: 19

Another late pick for the Stars out of the BCHL appears to be a hidden gem. McKenzie left Penticton (BCHL) for Miami University this past fall and has fit right in. With 23 points in 35 games and a team-leading 80 penalty minutes, McKenzie appears to be on the edge of a very successful collegiate career. He has already seen relatively major minutes for a freshman, including some power-play time.

Should his skating improve, the late 2009 pick can become a pretty dominant power forward at the collegiate ranks and his combination of size and skill should translate seamlessly to the next level.

8. (9) Matt Tassone, C
– 6.5C, Swift Current Broncos (WHL)
6th round pick (176th overall) in 2008 – Age: 20

Tassone returned for his fourth full season with the Swift Current Broncos (WHL). He’s a rock-solid combatant on the rink but has had his own battles off the ice these past 10 months. A couple of devastating shoulder injuries cost Tassone the end of his 2008-09 season and the start of his 2009-10 campaign. He’s trying to return to top form and help propel the Broncos to the playoffs.

The hard-working grinder has shown an excellent goal-scoring touch around the net. He’s scored 48 goals in his last 85 WHL games and continues to rack up his fair share of fighting majors. Despite his recent junior success, his value will be better determined next season when he moves on to the AHL – hopefully with a clean bill of health.

9. (13) Colton Sceviour, RW – 6.5C, Texas Stars (AHL)
4th round pick (112th overall) in 2007 – Age: 20

Sceviour has finally made the jump to the professional ranks. He’s entered into largely second and third-line duties and has performed admirably. Sceviour hasn’t so much found his goal-scoring touch at the AHL level as much as he’s found his playmaking ability. He’s among the team leaders in assists and leads the team in plus/minus.

Sceviour is a strong two-way player who works hard on the ice, plays smart and stays out of trouble. He finds ways to accumulate points even if he’s not readily noticeable on a nightly basis offensively. Sceviour’s high work rate will be an asset for him the rest of the way and will make up for him not having the highest skill in the pipeline.

10. (11) Sergei Korostin, RW – 7.0D, Texas Stars (AHL)
3rd round pick (64th overall) in 2007 – Age: 20

Korostin is one of many Stars prospects who have made the jump from junior to the pros. He’s picked up 12 goals and 20 points in 49 AHL games so far this season and picked up six points in a four-game stop in the ECHL. Korostin has been used all over the Texas lineup and on both sides of center. Texas is far from a free-wheeling offense, so Korostin relies on his speed on the forecheck to generate opportunities and picks up a lot of goals at even strength.

The Russian uses his speed to motor around the ice looking for open areas. He’s willing to shoot from virtually any angle but tends to avoid high-traffic areas. His NHL future is in question because it’s difficult to say what kind of niche he can carve out. He’s young and has the potential, but he’s still a low to mid-level prospect at this point.

11. (16) Austin Smith, RW
– 7.0D, Colgate University (NCAA)
5th round pick (128th overall) in 2007 – Age: 21

Another successful season is winding down at Colgate University for Smith – who was the team’s leading point-getter. Smith has been a staple in the Colgate lineup and has come up huge for them this year – especially as of late when the points became more important.

Smith is a high-tempo player with a big offensive upside. He’s a solid forechecker with good hockey smarts, but his size is somewhat concerning. Even for the college game, he’s a tad undersized. He’s still a long ways away, but he’s a prospect with growing promise.

12. (19) Tomas Vincour, RW
– 7.0D, Vancouver Giants (WHL)
5th round pick (129th overall) in 2009 – Age: 19

The former top pick of the CHL Import Draft has carved out a pretty successful WHL career up to this point. The Czech forward was traded midseason from the Oil Kings to the Giants, ending his two-and-a-half season run with the expansion franchise. Vincour has wasted no time with his new club, posting a near point-per-game average in his first 23 matches. The increase may be due to a more successful team with a better offense.

Vincour’s size is pretty ideal. His skating is less-than-perfect but he should be able to make it work for him. He has an excellent shot with a quick release to go along with some pretty fancy hands. Vincour should figure into the Stars future plans, but further down the line.

13. (14) Tyler Beskorowany, G
– 7.0D, Kingston Frontenacs (OHL)
2nd round pick (59th overall) in 2008 – Age: 19

The odd-man out in Owen Sound last season, Tyler Beskorowany was moved to Kingston to become a full-time starter. He has gotten the lion’s share of the games but Beskorowany still faces an enormous number of shots per game and is having trouble keeping the puck out of the net – as evidenced by his 3.50 GAA through 60 games. His .904 save percentage is about the same as last year with Owen Sound (.902).

Beskorowany is a big goaltender with a good glove hand and excellent stick/puck skills. He really hasn’t gotten a lot of help in front of him over the years and has contributed to his inconsistent junior career. He’s struggling to grow out of that “raw prospect” category.

14. (NR) Reilly Smith, RW
– 6.5C, Miami University (NCAA)
3rd round pick (69th overall) in 2009 – Age: 18

Reilly Smith took the plunge into the collegiate ranks along with fellow Stars prospect Curtis McKenzie at Miami University. Smith has performed admirably in his freshman season with 18 points in 36 games. Smith isn’t a power forward like McKenzie, but rather a more agile player who is still lacking the frame necessary to swing with the big trees in the high-traffic areas.

As Smith continues to grow and gain muscle, it’s likely that he’ll start to reach his lofty offensive upside. He has very good vision and can skate well – his offensive instincts are top-notch. He’s a long-term prospect but expect Smith to quickly rise up the list in the coming years.

15. (10) Raymond Sawada, RW
– 6.0B, Texas Stars (AHL)
2nd round pick (52nd overall) in 2004 – Age: 25

Time is of the essence for Raymond Sawada, who is the oldest prospect remaining in the Stars top 20 list. He’s been nothing more than a role player at the AHL level and while that was his ceiling for the NHL, it’s not very inspiring that he’s brought such little offense to the minor-league venue. He’s gotten the chance to play in five NHL games, this year and last, but hasn’t become anything close to a regular yet.

Sawada is a grinder with good size and a willingness to play hard in the corners and in front of the net. He lacks the high-end, even mid-range, offensive ability and hands that you might see from a former second-round draft choice. Sawada should be able to make it as a role player somewhere down the line, but whether or not it’s with Dallas remains to be seen.

16. (18) Scott Winkler, C – 6.5C, Colorado College (NCAA)
3rd round pick (89th overall) in 2008 – Age: 20

Winkler has performed well at virtually every level of play up to this point. However, Colorado College has been a little bit tougher of a task. He’s yet to become a full-fledged regular contributor to the Tigers. He was dominant for the Norwegians at the World Junior Championships, winning the Best Forward nomination in Division-1. His success has not translated to the collegiate ranks quite yet.

Winkler has added a fair amount of size to an already substantial frame. He’s got the hockey smarts and the grit but the scoring has yet to come to him at the NCAA level. The Stars drafted him as a midget, so they realize that he was a long-term project and will probably remain at Colorado for at least three years.

17. (NR) Tristan King, C
– 6.5C, Medicine Hat Tigers (WHL)
Undrafted free agent – Age: 19

After an invite to the Traverse City prospect tournament, King impressed enough of the Dallas brass to obtain an entry-level contract. King is wrapping up his junior career with Medicine Hat this season and, as expected, it’s his best to date. He’s among the team leaders in scoring and could possibly hit a point-per-game average.

King is a high-end offensive talent with excellent hands. He doesn’t have great size and has had some injuries in his past. King isn’t the most gifted skater but he can get around just fine – except he tends to stay out of traffic and away from the front of the net. He has good hand-eye coordination and likes to set up teammates for goals. His NHL future is something of a longshot at this point, but if he keeps crafting his offensive skills, anything can happen.

18. (NR) Hubert Labrie, D – 6.5D, Gatineau Olympiques (QMJHL)
Undrafted free agent – Age: 18

Defensive defenseman Hubert Labrie is another free-agent signee. He’s valuable to the system, due to its obvious lack of blueliners. Labrie impressed at Traverse City and has impressed in Gatineau – especially in the playoffs. The knock against Labrie is that he’s small, even by QMJHL standards – if he continues to get stronger he’ll become a player who can make the big show way down the line.

Labrie has a lot of natural defensive smarts and a willingness (sometimes too willing) to initiate physical contact with on-rushing forwards. He’s smart and positionally sound when he’s on his game – additionally, he’s a solid puck-mover but isn’t used in a ton of offensive situations. Labrie is a long way off, but he has the brains to progress much further.

19. (NR) Nico Sacchetti, C
– 6.5D, University of Minnesota (NCAA)
2nd round pick (50th overall) in 2007 – Age: 20

Sacchetti who has plummeted down the Dallas Top 20 list over the past couple years. He has not yet found regular top minutes with the Golden Gophers and that is curtailing his best asset – offensive flair. He hasn’t yet put together any sort of consistent effort offensively and his late-season scoring slump is less than inspiring.

Sacchetti is a player who thrives on the power play when he has a chance to showcase his offensive talents. He’s a natural center, but lacks the attention to detail defensively needed in a center. Sacchetti may have benefited from playing at a smaller school where it wouldn’t have taken him as long to crack the top lines. Sacchetti can still turn it around, of course, but he needs to give Minnesota a reason to take another look.

20. (NR) Aaron Gagnon, C – 6.0C, Texas Stars (AHL)
8th round pick (240th overall) in 2004 – Age: 23

Gagnon sneaks back onto the list at the No. 20 spot as he puts together a pretty good season with the AHL club. Gagnon even made his NHL debut this season. With Texas, he’s among the team leaders in goals, assists and points. Gagnon usually makes the right play on the ice and the right decision off of it. He is often looked to as a leader on the fledgling club.

Gagnon is a strong skater who plays with a lot of energy. He’s a determined player who has paid his dues at every level of hockey. Based on his brief call-up and successful AHL season, he’s someone that could be used for spot duty when needed.