As we gear up for the 2011 NHL Entry Draft next weekend, I thought it would be interesting to take a look at how the current Dallas Stars had been built and just how important past drafts had been in building this roster. As the Stars sit right on the edge of "rebuilding" mode, the general consensus is that this draft more than ever is very important for the future success of this franchise in a few year's time.
There have been hints that the Stars are not only going to be as active as financially possible in free agency but will also look to add key pieces via trade. For that to happen, it's a good bet that a combination of prospects and future draft picks will be included, making the success of this year's draft even more important in possibly replacing traded assets.
That's still a bit speculative and there's no way to really analyze that course of action until Joe Nieuwendyk actually takes it. Instead, let's take a brief look at how the Stars have been put together.
For a bit of fun, we'll also compare this roster to how the 1999 Stanley Cup team was assembled. The results may shock you...
With a focus on players that were drafted by Dallas (in bold), here is how each player on the Stars current roster arrived in Dallas:
Krys Barch - Signed as free agent, July 2006
Jamie Benn - Drafted 2007, 5th Round
Adam Burish - Signed as free agent, July 2010
Trevor Daley - Drafted 2002, 2nd Round
Loui Eriksson - Drafted 2003, 2nd Round
Mark Fistric - Drafted 2004, 1st Round
Alex Goligoski - Acquired via trade, 2011
Nicklas Grossman - Drafted 2004, 2nd Round
Kari Lehtonen - Acquired via trade, 2010
Brenden Morrow - Drafted 1997, 1st Round
Steve Ott - Drafted 2000, 1st Round
Toby Petersen - Signed as free agent 2007
Andrew Raycroft - Signed as free agent, 2010
Mike Ribeiro - Acquired via trade, 2006
Stephane Robidas - Signed as free agent, 2005
Tom Wandell - Drafted 2005, 5th Round
The first thing you'll notice is that only three "significant" contributors -- Petersen, Burish and Robidas -- on the team were acquired in free agency. The rest were either traded for or drafted. Even more interesting is that of the 16 players on the current roster, only two were previous first round picks by the Dallas Stars. Part of this reason is due to the Stars not having any first round picks in 2007 or 2008 (thanks, Ladislav Nagy).
Ivan Vishnevskiy, the Stars' 1st round pick in 2006, was traded for Kari Lehtonen last year. I think we can all live with that one.
If Tomas Vincour is on the roster to start the season next year, that would make three key forwards on the roster acquired by the Stars in the 5th round.
For comparison's sake, here's the way the 1999 Stanley Cup Champions were assembled. I left off a few names, guys who were not significant contributors during the Cup run.
Mike Modano - Drafted 1988, 1st Round
Joe Nieuwendyk - Acquired via trade, 1995
Jamie Langenbrunner - Drafted 1993, 2nd Round
Brett Hull - Signed as free agent, 1998
Jere Lehtinen - Drafted 1992, 3rd Round
Sergei Zubov - Acquired via trade, 1996
Darryl Sydor - Acquired via trade, 1996
Dave Reid - Signed as free agent, 1996
Mike Keane - Acquired via trade, 1998
Pat Verbeek - Signed as free agent, 1996
Derian Hatcher - Drafted 1990, 1st Round
Guy Carbonneau - Acquired via trade, 1995
Richard Matvichuk - Drafted 1991, 1st Round
Craig Ludwig - Signed as free agent, 1991
Grant Marshall - Acquired via trade, 1994
Benoit Hogue - Acquired via trade, 1996
Tony Hrkac - Acquired via trade, 1998
Brian Skrudland - Acquired via trade, 1998
Brad Lukowich - Acquired via trade, 1996
Ed Belfour - Signed as free agent, 1997
Jon Sim - Drafted 1996, 3rd Round
Roman Turek - Drafted 1990, 4th Round
Of the 22 players here, 11 were acquired via trade and only seven were actually drafted by the Stars. Bob Gainey was one busy man from 1996 to 1998, and you can see just how great he was when it came to trading away bits and pieces for players that made direct contributions to the Cup win.
He traded Kevin Hatcher for Segei Zubov and he traded Todd Harvey for Mike Keane and Brian Skrudland. Wow.
It's tough to say whether there's one true formula for how to build long term success. Was the 1999 team successful long-term? They won the Cup in 1999 and then lost in the Finals in 2000 and just a few seasons later Ken Hitchcock was fired and Joe Nieuwendyk and Jamie Langenbrunner were in New Jersey. Many of the players acquired leading up to that Cup run were older, gritty and experienced veterans.
The Stars tried to replicate that formula following that 2002 collapse and they've spent nearly a decade recovering. Now, 12 years after the Stars won the Cup in Buffalo the team is mostly draft picks that have worked their way up through the system. With Scott Glennie, Tomas Vincour and Philip Larsen knocking on the door, more draft picks could become a big part of this team in the near future.
What say you? Are the Stars set for success on a long-term basis or do they need an instant infusion of free agency talent to start winning in the playoffs once more?