Stars 2005 draft preview

By HF Staff

Stars Top Ten Prospects

1. Trevor Daley, D
2. Shawn Belle, D
3. Loui Eriksson, RW
4. Antti Miettinen, LW
5. Jussi Jokinen, LW
6. Johan Fransson, D
7. Niklas Grossman, D
8. Mark Fistric, D
9. Yared Hagos, C
10. Junior Lessard, RW

The Dallas Stars have been a high-spending team, with much less attention given towards building from within. With the new CBA, a new era of concentration on their farm system begins. Fittingly, AHL affiliate Iowa Stars will begin play this fall in Des Moines, Iowa.

Team Needs

The Stars have several needs, one of which is offense. Leading scorer Bill Guerin is under contract for 2004-05, and Jason Arnott is a restricted free agent, but captain Mike Modano is unrestricted and his price may be too high. Team scoring was not an issue in 2003-04, but with the “new NHL” on the horizon, the Stars may be lacking firepower.

Dallas and the rest of the league got a small sample of Steve Ott during the 2003-04 season. Names like Ott and even Niko Kapanen should prove to be household names in the Lone Star state for many years to come.

The average age of the 2003-04 roster was 33 years old. The 2005-06 Stars will be dramatically younger, but don’t expect the team to simply promote those from their farm system. The team will need to lock up some quality free agent this summer to allow their prospects time to mature.

Organizational Strengths

Heading into last year’s draft, the Stars desperately needed to add depth defensively. They went on to split their 10 draft picks down the middle, using half of them to grab five rearguards. They also dealt goalie Jason Bacashihua to St. Louis for defenseman Shawn Belle. Both Belle and Trevor Daley rank at the top of the Dallas’ charts.

Of the rest of the Stars pickups in 2004, Mark Fistric, Johan Fransson and Niklas Grossman are all poised to challenge in a couple years.

Even with the departure of Bacashihua, the Stars still have great depth at the goalie position with Dan Ellis, Mike Smith and Tobias Stephan.

Organization Weaknesses

The Stars youth movement essentially began when team owner Tom Hicks started cutting player salary costs in the middle of the 2002-03 season. However, they are a few years off building a solid youth foundation. The Stars lack blue chip prospects, in particular snipers and playmakers. They are also in need of some more size up front.

Positionally, Dallas lacks quality depth at the center position. Looking at Hockey’s Future current top 20 ranking for the Stars, defenseman and wingers are locking up the top spots. With the exception of Yared Hagos and Gino Guyer, the Stars are coming up short in this position.

Draft Tendencies

Since Doug Armstrong took over as General Manager for Dallas in 2002, the Stars scouting staff has concentrated more on Europe than ever before. Out of a total of 33 overall selections over the last three drafts, they have selected 42 percent of their prospects out of Canada (12) and the United States (2), leaving a whopping 58 percent in Europe. The average across the league is around 32 percent during this span.

The Stars have heavily skewed their European drafting preference towards the Scandinavian Region. Dallas has selected six Swedish born players and four Finnish born players over this time period. Between the two neighboring nations, they have combined for a total of 33 percent of players selected, going back to 2002 alone.

Currently a total of 21 percent of the Stars’ current prospects are playing in Sweden. Finland and the NCAA come in tied for second, with 12 percent of their players on active rosters. Finally, the OHL and the WHL round out the bottom tied as well, with nine percent of their prospects playing in both those leagues.

Player most likely to be taken with first selection (Hockey’s Future staff mock draft result): T.J. Hensick, University of Michigan.

Copyright 2005 Hockey’s Future. Do not duplicate without permission of the editorial staff.