Forward thinking: Grading the Dallas Stars 2009 draft

It's time to take a look back at the Dallas Stars past weekend in Montreal, analyze the picks they've made and then do what I kind of do best - make knee jerk reactions and guess what kind of player they'll end up being only for months and years down the road to look totally out-of-touch!

Scott Glennie - 1st Round / 8th overall

RW - 6'1" 177lbs - Brandon WHL

Pros: Has great speed, can play all three forward positions, outstanding puck handler.

Cons: A little on the small side, not the most physical player.

Pick Grade: (A) - I've been saying for a couple of weeks ago that no matter who the Stars picked, it was likely to be a solid pick as long as it was one of the players generally thought of to be in the top 10 to 15 players available, so this could have been any number of players and I would have given the same grade. Expect him to travel down the same path as James Neal and Jamie Benn - a year in junior, a year in the minors then a possible jump to the NHL where he could be a top six forward. Personally, this is the guy I wanted the Stars to pick from the start so it would rank as an A+ pick to me, but I'll leave personal feelings out of it and give it a solid A.

(Follow the jump to see my take on the other four draft picks as well as a final overall team grade.)

Alex Chiasson - 2nd round / 38th overall

RW - 6'4" 187lbs - Des Moines USHL

Pros: Strong physical player, can punish opponents in the corners, smooth stick handling skills.

Cons: Clunky skater and a little on the slower side. 

Pick Grade: (A) - Alex has stated that the Stars really were the only team to actively pursue him in talks leading up to the draft so clearly this is a guy the Stars wanted, and with him being a potential Ryan Getzlaf type player it's easy to see why. Alex still needs to fill out physically - and will over time - before his true power forward potential can be fulfilled. His skating also needs work, but again it's something that can - and will - see improvement when he goes to play for Boston University this coming season. Alex can also play center and is quite good in the face off circle as well. Alex could be two seasons away from making the NHL, but if he could be expected to fill a 3rd line checking role that could easily be bumped up to 2nd line if his skating improves.

Reilly Smith -  3rd Round / 69th overall

RW - 6'0" 157lbs - St. Michaels OJHL

Pros: Slick skater, very hard and very accurate shot

Cons: Not a physical player, game doesn't stand out if he's not scoring.

Pick Grade: (B) - One of two players the Stars have drafted from the Canadian Junior A ranks, Reilly Smith is a small sniper like forward with a wicked shot and deft passing.  Another right handed shot. Reilly's shortcomings though seem to be with in-tight play up the middle and he's thought to be more of a perimeter type player. He needs to bulk up, and develop his defensive playing abilities. Reilly really is a long term project for the Stars - maybe the longest term one out of all the Stars draft picks. He's at least three seasons away from being an NHL type player, but as long as he can work on his ability to play in a more physical game he could be a solid 2nd or 3rd line player.

Tomas Vincour - 5th round / 129th overall

C - 6'2" 203lbs - Edmonton WHL

Pros: Terrific shot, sees the ice very well.

Cons: Not very consistent, poor skating skills.

Pick Grade: (B-) - Vincour came into the season with a ton of focus on him as an expected leader of the 2nd year Oil Kings of the WHL, but his inconsistent play and very poor skating quickly became his downfall. Scouts we heard from this weekend all seemed to agree that his lack of skating ability is what really hurt his standing in the draft and if he was better on his feet he would have easily been a 2nd or 3rd round pick. His lack of work ethic at times also hurt the perception that he can make it in the North American style of game. Still, he'll have the chance over the next couple of seasons - a final one with the Oil Kings and then one in minors - to be able to find some consistency in his play, work on his skating and develop his hitting ability.  If he does those three things he could easily devlop into a great third line center and will be a steal of a pick in the 5th round.

Curtis McKenzie - 6th round / 159th overall

LW - 6'2" 192lbs - Penticton BCJHL

Pros: Always one of the hardest working players on the ice, solid defensive forward.

Cons: Not the greatest skater, average shot power.

Pick Grade: (A) - This is a great pick in the 6th round and how McKenzie fell this far is kind of a mystery to me. He's a player who refuses to be outworked on the ice. His puck handling ability and skating is a little sub-par, but he is good enough to play both ends of the ice very well and in time could easily be a top NHL level penalty killer in the future. He'll join Reilly Smith in Miami of Ohio this coming season. As with most kids drafted, he needs to fill out his tall 6' 2" frame. Curtis could be the better part of three seasons away before threatening to crack the NHL, but once he does he could prove to be a very valuable third line checking winger and PK specialist.

Overall Stars Grade: A-

The Stars only had five picks but did they ever make the most of them! Skilled forwards with a right handed shot was a huge gap in the Stars system going into this weekend and they certainly filled that hole.

It is kind of surprising they didn't draft a single defenseman, and maybe if they had an extra pick or two they might have. Still based on the fact they got Glennie earlier than he was expected to be taken, took Chaisson who they made it known was on their radar and then trading away their last pick in the 7th round, it sure seems like the Stars got exactly the players they wanted this draft.

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