Stars Entry Draft Report (1st Day)

By Keith Riskey

In a few days, we will be posting a full Dallas Stars post-draft report and analysis on Hockey’s Future. Today, however, we are just publishing a brief list of who was chosen and a little about each player. (NB: if you’re wondering why we have that extra 2nd rounder, we traded Brad Lukowich to Tampa Bay for their 2nd round pick earlier today).

Martin Vagner (1st round, 26th overall)

The Dallas Stars used their first round pick (26th overall) to pick Czech defenseman Martin Vagner in today’s NHL Entry Draft. The NHL’s Central Scouting Bureau had him ranked Vagner eighth among North American forwards and defensemen, and the Red-Line Report had him ranked 55th overall. On a very positive note, many draft write-ups had Vagner going much earlier in the draft (both TSN and The Hockey news), and the Dallas Stars staff at Hockey’s Future believes that Vagner is an excellent choice at 26th overall.

Vagner is a 6’1″, 214 lb offensive defensemen who is billied as an extremely proficient and mobile skater and stickhandler. Though large-framed, Vagner can effectively lead an attack from behind the blueline either by skating or by utilizing his crisp, very effective passing game. A thinking defenseman, Vanger also commands an excellent mastery and vision of the game. He knows when and where to put the puck responsibly, when to lead a charge, when to make a quick, outlet pass, when to shoot, and when to make the hit. At minimum, the Stars hope he will emerge as a tough, semi-offensive defenseman in a Richard Matvichuk mold.

Vagner played for Hull in the QMJHL last season, compiling 6 goals, 28 assists and 81 penalty minutes in 64 games.

Janos Vas (2nd round, 32nd overall)

Vas, a 6-1, 183 pound left wing from Sweden, was ranked 55th among European forwards and defensemen by Central Scouting. Vas had 13 goals and 17 assists in 33 games in Sweden’s junior league. Though only 17, Vas has the frame to likely develop into a nice-sized player. He is not averse to physical hockey, but also commands a terrific range of offensive skills (puckhandling, fancy moves, nice shot, etc.). In fact, he has such a wide range of fakes and moves in the offensive zone, I wouldn’t be too surprised to discover he works overtime solely on his deking. It’s not a stretch to imagine Vas as a potentially great one-one-one goal scorer at a higher level of play. Many great things (and few negative things) can be said of Vas: he’s physical, he’s talented, he’s got great moves, he commands all the right offensive skills, and he works hard. At this stage, however, he’s just still too undeveloped to make him a more than a “theoretical” candidate for an NHL scoring line someday. We’ll follow him as he develops, of course. He could be dandy, but we’ll see how well he performs as he matures.

Tobias Stephan (2nd round, 34th overall)

Swiss goalie Tobia Stephan was ranked second among European goalies by Central Scouting and ranked 19th overall by the Red Line Report. A tall, lanky netminder, Tobias is known for his quick reflexes, great composure, and winning attitude. Stephan is your classic, ninja-like, reflex butterly-goaltender pick, and he looks to be an intelligent choice here.

Marius Holtet (2nd round, 42nd overall)

Holtet is a 6-0, 183 pound center from Sweden. Ranked 76th among European forwards and defensemen by Central Scouting. He currently looks to be more of a goal-scorer than a playmaker, and Holtet notched a modest 12 goals and eight assists in 32 games playing junior hockey in Sweden. In this columnist’s opinion, Holtet was a bit of a stretch at 42nd overall. Perhaps the Stars scouts saw something they really liked during his great play for Norway at the World Under-18 championships. Holtet played spectactularly there — thriving with increased ice time — and scored 5 goals and 3 assists in 8 games. Other than that, Hockey’s Future’s Dallas staff is unaware of anything particularly outstanding about Holtet, but we’ll keep you appraised as we learn more.

Trevor Daley (2nd round, 43rd overall)

Daley, a 5-10, 198 pound defenseman, has spent the last three seasons with Sault Ste. Marie of the Ontario Hockey League. He had nine goals and 39 assists in 47 games this season. Daley was ranked 24th overall by the Red Line Report — a report which had this (truly awesome stuff) to say about him: “Probably the best pure skater in the draft at any position. Dynamic speed, rocket acceleration, and always keeps his feet moving. Stops and starts are excellent. Uses foot speed to close gaps well. Very difficult to knock off the puck because he absorbs hits well and is quick enough to spin away from checks. Magic when the puck is on his stick. Offensively he is very skilled and makes a great quarterback on the power play.”

Daley is below average in size for an NHL defenseman these days, but we hope he can utilize that phenomenal speed of his to make the NHL and knock our socks off anyway somewhere down the line.

Geoff Waugh (3rd round, 78th overall)

Third rounders are rather anticlimatic when you have so many 2nd rounders, but we’ll just point this Canadian blueliner is already huge (6’3″, 210 lbs) and was named a first time all-star playing for Kindersley of the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League last year during a truly wonderful season. He’s big, and he probably eats punks like you for breakfast.