Most hockey seasons are nearly a
the way through, if not further. With this much playing time
already passed, it gives a good enough indication of who deserves to be a
prospect at the moment. For the Dallas Stars system, injuries have played a
part in the shaping of the ranking as several of the more talented
have had their position at least somewhat compromised because of large
of missed time.
Here is Hockey’s Future’s current Stars Top
No. 1-Trevor Daley,
biggest waves in the Stars system have come from this small, slick
Just as he did last year, Daley wowed management in 2003 training camp and
play, pushing fellow defenseman John Erskine very hard for the final
position. Despite the show of skill, at the end of camp, Daley was the final
cut, mostly due to inexperience and probably partly due to Erskine’s waiver
status. He did not perform very well early in Utah. His plus-minus rating was the
worst on the team while he was there, and he didn’t put up large numbers for
offensively starved club. However, when injuries occurred on the big team,
preseason play and talent carried him to two stints with the Stars, where he
now. In Dallas, he has been a successful point man on the first power play
and has created a lot of chances on the rush while playing well enough
defensively to earn ice time. With the current injury situation, he could
to the graduated list as early as this year.
No. 2-Mathias Tjärnqvist,
he did not start with the Stars after a good preseason, Tjärnqvist’s work
and talent earned him a call up after some time adjusting in the minors.
his totals at the AHL level are not outstanding, he used the time to adjust
the North American rink, and it has help his play with the Stars. He has
around in the lineup from scoring lines to checking lines and played
well in all the roles given to him. Though he lacks speed, he does play a
defensive game and has been excellent on the forecheck. Tjärnqvist has a
chance of remaining with the Stars, especially if the team’s inconsistency
No. 3-Antti Miettinen,
looked right when Miettinen started the season with the Dallas Stars after
arguably the best player in camp. In regular season play, Miettinen showed a
of promise, but just could not quite put his game together at the NHL level.
There were many times where the Finn oozed skill, like on his only NHL goal,
he still needs a little bit of time to adjust to the North American game,
he is now doing in Utah. His need for adjustment has shown up particularly
his normally stellar plus-minus rating. He has had issues with bad turnovers
that have ended up in his team’s net at both levels. The big difference is
the talented forward is producing in the AHL.
No. 4-Jussi Jokinen,
Finnish talent, Jokinen is enjoying a strong season in the SM-Liiga as
After returning from the Stars development camp in July, Jokinen promptly
fire and was putting up points at a rapid pace through the preseason and
part of the regular season. He has since cooled some, but has been chipping
points regularly for Kärpät, which is now at the top of the SM-Liiga
standings. He did play well for Finland at one Eurotour event and may play
Finland again later other events, especially if he keeps scoring.
No. 5-Jason Bacashihua,
slightly ahead of Mike Smith for Utah’s starting job, the talented
Bacashihua is again showing promise with little results. Bacashihua started
the year dead cold but has since come back to get back to at least average
numbers for a goaltender. Making his job more difficult is the team in front
him, which is not particularly dangerous on offense or defense. Whether Utah
wins usually comes straight back on to Bacashihua. While he appears to have
talent to carry a team down the line, he currently does not appear to be
developed enough to do so.
No. 6-Loui Eriksson,
Stars first selection in the 2003 Entry Draft has shown tons of promise
his career with Frölunda in the SEL. As only an 18-year-old with limited ice
time from the fourth line on the strong team, Eriksson is hovering around
leaders for rookie scoring, having been that leader at times. In the SEL,
Eriksson has shown a lot of drive. He is playing nearly without fear and
a lot of praise from his coach for his efforts. He is expected to help lead
Swedish WJC team, especially offensively, in its effort to win gold.
No. 7- Yared Hagos,
was another prospect who visited Dallas for the development camp over the
summer. After leaving Dallas, he was soon joined by some of the players that
had worked out with when the Stars loaned some of their players to Hagos’s
club Timrå. In his return to the SEL, Hagos has played quite well. He is not
among the SEL scoring leaders, but he is putting up decent numbers for his club in what is essentially his second SEL season. However, it has not been
scoring that has earned him accolades, but instead his fantastic defensive
No. 8-Joel Lundqvist, C
After having a strong season with Frölunda
year, Lundqvist has fallen off his production pace from last season.
struggled mightily through camp and most of the early part of the season. He
not playing assertively and had lost confidence in his game. Recently, he
rediscovered his game and he is starting to play well both ways. Should he keep
this play for the rest of the year, he may be able to match his previous
His skating continues to be an area of concern as well.
No. 9-Tobias Stephan, G
The young Swiss goalie was in attendance at the development camp
July, then returned to Kloten of the Swiss Nationalliga A for the
preseason. Stephan struggled a little at the season’s start as his whole
stumbled, but he did have respectable numbers. Then, during the November
Stephan returned to Dallas for a brief visit. When he returned to the Kloten
Flyers, Stephan was on fire, going unbeaten in seven and posting three
in that span. Stephan is again expected to backstop Switzerland at the WJC
No.10- Vojtech Polak, LW
Despite being arguably the most talented
in the system, Polak has not done much with that talent this year. He has
well against players in his own age group at international tournaments, but
production in the Czech Extraliga with Karlovy Vary has been anemic. Known
sniper, Polak has yet to record a goal with his home club. His only
goal came while he was on loan to Sparta Praha immediately after the U20
Nations Tournament in November.
No. 11-Dan Ellis, G
Dan Ellis had the strongest showing among the Stars stable of goaltenders.
Since this is his first professional season, however, the Stars
to assign him straight to Idaho of the ECHL where he has been sharing
goaltending duties with ECHL veteran Blair Allison. Ellis started the season
slowly, but he has come on recently to raise his numbers to better levels.
thing Ellis has had no problem with however is shootouts. So far, the young
goaltender has not lost a game that went to a shootout and has allowed only a
goal on nine attempts.
No. 12-Martin Vagner, D
stayed healthy the entire year, he would likely be higher in the ranking. He had a much better showing at training camp, sticking around longer and
some preseason action before returning to the Gatineau Olympiques of the
Vagner played well both ways to start the season, but then injured his
during practice. He sat out nearly a month before returning to the lineup.
he did, he picked up right where he left off. If he keeps up this pace
throughout the season and stays healthy, it will only enhance his standing
No. 13-Matt Nickerson,
most teams looked at selecting Nickerson strictly on his fighting prowess,
Stars were gambling that he would have more than just toughness. Thus far,
have been proven right. After committing to Clarkson over the summer because
they offered him a better position on the team than Michigan, Nickerson has
on to cement his place as a key defenseman for them. Nickerson is
all situations and has been particularly efficient on the power play. Not to
unmentioned is how he is already piling up the penalty minutes in the NCAA
though it is a no fighting league.
No. 14-Brandon Crombeen,
surprise second round pick this year, Crombeen has had a respectable season
the Barrie Colts. He has produced offense somewhat regularly for Barrie, but
been an effective physical and defensive forward when not scoring goals. His
early season play was strong enough to earn him a spot on the OHL team that
competed in the RE/MAX Russian Challenge. In the two games, Crombeen had a
and two assists for Team OHL.
No. 15-Marius Holtet,
talented Norwegian has shown improvement in his second professional season
Bofors in the second tier of the Swedish professional system, but he still
to improve significantly before he can make the NHL. Holtet has improved his
defensive game somewhat and has been a very abrasive player this year. His
offensive production has not quite been to the level expected, but his knack
goal scoring has shown through at times. He should be representing Norway
their WJC tournament and will likely lead the team in scoring.
No. 16-Mike Smith, G
an injury he suffered in camp, Smith stepped into his role as part of a
tandem for Utah. Sharing duties with Bacashihua in Utah, Smith has been
par with the more highly touted prospect. While he has not gotten as much
as Bacashihua, he has an identical save percentage. The one area where
has significantly outplayed Bacashihua is in his handling of the puck, but
than that their situations are about identical.
No. 17-David Bararuk, LW
year in the WHL year last year, Bararuk has joined the professional ranks
the Utah Grizzlies. He is currently tied with Miettinen among Utah’s rookies
point output though he has played many more games than the Finn. The
forward has shown some acclimation to the faster pro game, but it is
that he will ever match his junior production in the AHL.
No. 18-Drew Bagnall, D
A bit of
surprise selection at this year’s draft, Bagnall joined the St. Lawrence
in the NCAA after a couple of strong seasons in the SJHL. He has had a
significant spot on the team from the outset, logging big minutes and
playing in all situations. He produced very well at the start of the season
cooled after suffering a groin injury that held him out for a game. For an
overage sixth round pick, he shows a lot of promise.
No. 19-Dan Jancevski, D
of seasons in the minors with Utah, it appears that Jancevski may be turning
corner in his development his year with the Grizzlies. Jancevski started off
year well, showing strong defensive play and a lot of toughness. His
production also looks like it might rise marginally. Thus far in the season,
Jancevski has been one of Utah’s best defensemen, if not the best.
No. 20-Justin Cox,
not the most talented or biggest prospect in the system, Justin Cox has been
player for the Grizzlies. He has been a leader for the Grizzlies on and off
ice. Early in the season, he was leading the team in scoring, but he has
fallen off that pace. Still, he has been a quality player for a struggling
team. His NHL future may not be that bright, but given that he is currently
highest scoring prospect in Utah, he has earned his position at the bottom
the Top 20.
the Dallas system this season, there have been a relatively large number of
prospects, especially some of the higher profile prospects. All of the
prospects below have missed time and
struggled with injuries so far this year. The injuries are noted where
Drew Bagnall (groin)
Jarkko A. Immonen (back)
Antti Miettinen (back)
Tuomas Mikkonen (groin)
Alexander Naurov (leg)
Martin Vagner (shoulder)
Janos Vas (knee)
Of these, Vas and Naurov
have missed the entire seasons so far. Vas is still recovering from a knee
injury, and Naurov is recovering from surgery to his leg. The others are
currently in action.