Once again, Mike Heika tells us everything we need to know. One of the reasons I don’t get into out-and-out news on this blog is because it will always pale in comparison to Mike Heika’s work. I hope he never leaves us.
Just from an extremely high level, I think the draft went pretty well. The Stars bulked up on forwards after years of drafting defensemen and goalies. We have lots of defense prospects and now we’ll have lots of prospects at forward. They also picked several right-handed shots, too. Right-handed shots are rare, in general, not just in this organization, so they’ll be handy no matter how many they get. They can always trade any spares.
Scott Glennie was our first-round pick at 8th overall. Personally, I had only vaguely heard of him before that, but after reading a little about him, I’m thrilled. He sounds like a guy that is a good playmaker and a scorer while also being willing to be the guy that goes in to get the puck for his linemates.
He’s one of the right-handers, and it sounds like he and linemate (and #5 pick for the Kings) Brayden Schenn tore up their league last year. He’s fast, he’s talented, and he’ll have time to mature. I think it’s a good pick.
Alex Chiasson was picked by the Stars in the second round. Like Louis Leblanc, he’s from Quebec, but has been playing in the US Hockey League and plans to take the NCAA route instead of Juniors. He’s committed to Boston University. He’s also a right-handed right-wing.
Reilly Smith is the third pick. Another right-handed right wing. Also a college guy. He was picked quite a bit earlier than projected, but they were obviously in the market for some right-handers.
Tomas Vincour in the fifth round. Another right-hander.
Curtis McKenzie was the sixth-round and final pick of the draft for the Stars. He is thought to be a good leader and good player. He’s the odd left-winger that they picked.
Just from what I’ve read from Heika and his links, they all sound like players that can do something someday. These guys are not expected to help us right now, so there’s not an urgent need to draft defensemen. We have quite a few still in the pipeline. We also have some forwards that were drafted a couple of years ago that are just now starting to bubble to the top.
All in all, I’d say I’m optimistic about all of them. Heika was talking before the draft about how the salary cap has skewed the way teams (at least the Stars) are picking in the draft these days. The Stars used to draft grit and character and they’d buy skill and flash in the open market. Now that there’s a salary cap, it’s a better plan to draft the skill guys, so you have them when they’re reasonably-priced, and buy the grinders and energy guys on the open market.
Skill guys get a lot more money as free agents than the third-line energy guys. You still need them — you can’t win without them — but the market for them is totally different. You can always find some. Not so with the scoring/playmaking forwards and the elite puck-handling defensemen.
There are a couple of other guys to watch, too. At least two kids from the Dallas area were drafted this year. Chris Brown went to Phoenix at number 36. He grew up in Frisco and played with Dallas teams until he moved to Detroit.
Anthony Hamburg was taken by Minnesota in the seventh round. He’s been playing for the Dallas Stars Midget Major team.
We’re starting to see what having a hockey team in a non-traditional market does. Each new year brings new 5-year-olds to the game, and after the first 10 years, each new year brings a new 15-year-old or two into the realm of prospects. I’m not sure, but this might be the third year in a row that a Dallas-area kid has been drafted. It won’t be long before they’re in the league and making names for themselves. And a kid watching hockey and seeing somebody from his own hometown out there on the ice in the NHL is going to be even more excited about playing.