Short on picks, but not on talent, the 2010 NHL Entry Draft saw former General Manager Joe Nieuwendyk take a chance on some high-ceiling players with mixed results to date. John Klingberg’s emergence in a Calder-caliber season has quickly turned into the crown jewel of the group. Anecdotally, the Stars have now had a fifth round draft pick play in the NHL for six straight drafts culminating with this one in 2010 – they did not make a fifth round selection in 2004. With two players still in the organization and one a young star, the upside for this draft remains intact.
It has been an interesting road for Jack Campbell and the Dallas Stars. Drafted out of the US National Team Development Program with utter domination in his youth during international competition, Campbell had an up-and-down OHL career that led to a little bit more consistency in the confines of the pro game. A bright flash in the 2013-14 championship season was dulled by frequent injury and then followed up by a forgettable third pro season that did not begin to turn around until March. In both the ECHL and in the IIHF World Championships in 2014-15, it has been a long, strange journey for the young American netminder.
Representing an end of an era in the draft realm himself, Campbell was drafted 11th overall in 2010, just after struggling tough man Dylan McIlrath (NYR) and just before smooth Ducks defender Cam Fowler. It might be the last time a goalie is taken in the first half of the first round for quite some time. Since his selection, only Tampa Bay’s Andrei Vasilevskiy (19th overall in 2012) and Boston’s Malcolm Subban (24th overall in 2012) have been first round goalies and there does not project to be one in 2015 either.
The athletic Campbell is rather aggressive in the crease and out of it with his penchant for stickhandling and starting the rush. The Stars have had a rather persistent need for a competent backup goalie over the last several seasons. However when the team pushes a strong, veteran number three down to the AHL to compete with Campbell, the former often ends up winning out, whether by merit or by injury. Surely Campbell’s time is running short but the upside is not completely tapped out. After this season, it would seem unlikely that he could waltz into an NHL backup role but stranger things have happened.
Watch this 2010 NHL Draft Look Back video featuring the Dallas Stars top pick, Jack Campbell.
2nd round, 41st overall: Patrik Nemeth, D, AIK J20 (J20 SuperElit)
NHL Games Played: 30
Sturdy defenseman Patrik Nemeth made his first real impression on the NHL during the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs versus Anaheim, where the veteran of just eight NHL contests played in five games of the series. That set the scene for the big Swede to make the big club off the hop in 2014-15, but an unfortunate skate cut reduced his season to just 22 games.
Defensive in nature, Nemeth has a touch of untapped offensive upside and times his rushes well. One of his more excellently-timed rushes came in the 2014 Calder Cup finale when he scored his first goal of the playoffs and the last goal of the American Hockey League season to win the chalice for Texas. He will not be counted on for offense at the NHL level, but he is not completely hopeless on that front either. He is a big steadying presence that the Stars need on a backend that has been a work in progress for some time. If 2011 first rounder Jamie Oleksiak can get to his game, the Stars could dole out some serious punishment as soon as next season.
Despite the limited amount of NHL games at age 23, Nemeth is in no immediate danger of being labeled a bust. He may not have an extraordinary ceiling, but the floor is awfully high at this point.
Armed with a lot of pro skills and traits, Alex Guptill impressed as a freshman with the University of Michigan. He earned CCHA Rookie of the Year honors and it seemed like the gears were in motion for a strong development. However, off-ice trouble and generally lackadaisical on-ice habits saw the 6’3 winger stagnate. He left as a junior 11 points lighter on the scoresheet than the previous season. Not long after signing with the Stars, Guptill was part of a blockbuster deal that sent star center Jason Spezza to Dallas.
The goal-scoring winger embarked on his pro season in 2014-15 with Binghamton. He had fairly limited ice time throughout and only very late in the season did he really begin to get engaged in the pro game. He finished with nine each of goals and assists in 61 contests. He still looks a lot like the player that came to Ann Arbor from the Waterloo Black Hawks (USHL). He will need to earn his keep if he wants to stay above water at this level – a challenge that he has not accepted to date.
The sixth overall pick in the 2007 WHL Bantam Draft got a strong look as a 16-year-old as part of a junior career that spanned across parts of six seasons and 267 games. From Lethbridge to Everett to Medicine Hat to Regina, the smooth skating defensive-minded defenseman played all over the map in the Western circuit. Unfortunately, as an overager with the Pats, Theriau aggravated an injury to his hip that he had had surgery on the previous summer and was forced to retire.
5th round, 131st overall: John Klingberg, D, Frolunda J20 (J20 SuperElit)
Status: NHL Player
NHL Games Played: 65
It has been a long, winding road for John Klingberg. With injuries and league changes, it was unclear how it was going to all end up. It ended up that he turned into a revelation for a defense corps that desperately needed the sparky, right-handed puck-mover. While certainly not a finished product from a completeness standpoint yet, Klingberg led all rookie blueliners in points with 40 despite starting the year in the AHL. With his smarts, mobility and puck skills, the Stars have a defenseman who can think and act on the same wavelength as stars Tyler Seguin, Jamie Benn and Jason Spezza.
Prospect of the Month
With many Dallas prospects failing to participate in lengthy playoff runs or making noteworthy contributions to them – major exception being Remi Elie‘s 24 points in 20 games with Erie (OHL) before being denied a championship – we turn to the World Championships for our May Prospect of the Month. Esa Lindell captured the Pekka Rautakallio Award for the best defensemen in the Liiga while leading the lead in ice time and points among d-men. Lindell and former NHLer Lasse Kukkonen share a pairing on the 2014-15 Liiga All-Star Team, which highlights the best players at each position for that league year.
Lindell left for Prague and the 2015 World Championships where he would lead his country’s blueliners in ice time (17:23), plus/minus (+5) and points (6). He also led the entire club in shots on goal with 26. He was noted for getting his pucks through traffic with neat angle changes and well-timed rushes throughout the tournament. Though the Finns were discarded by their Czech hosts, Lindell was named one of the three best players on the team via the coaches. With the amount of success he is having in European competition, it should be interesting to see how he fits in to the North American game next year.