BUFFALO NY - JANUARY 05: Jack Campbell #1 of the United States stands in goal against Sweden during the 2011 IIHF World U20 Championship Bronze medal game between United States and Sweden at the HSBC Arena on January 5 2011 in Buffalo New York. The United States won 4-2 and received the bronze medal. (Photo by Rick Stewart/Getty Images)
I revealed my monthly prospect rankings shortly after the draft this summer (read that post here), going through who I felt were my top 20 prospects in the Dallas Stars system. Each month from here on out we'll be updating our rankings based on recent performance and their importance to the organization, as well as according to any other whim we might have.
The actual ranking order generated a lot of debate six weeks ago and it was very interesting to see differing opinions on exactly who they felt belonged in the top ten and even at the top. If nothing else, our initial rankings showed just how far this prospect system has come in recent years and is suddenly a strength for the Stars -- at least in our eyes.
Jamieson Oleksiak adds an elite-level prospect component to this system that the Stars have not had since Jamie Benn burst out of the 5th round and started to destroy the WHL back in 2008. The Stars have never had a prospect quite like Oleksiak, with his rare combination of incredible size, strength and skill at the defensive position. Coming into the draft this summer he was still a bit raw, supposedly, and would need a few more years to really mature before he would be ready for the big time. He's had a great summer, however, impressing at the Stars' development camp and nearly dominating the Red & White game at the Team Canada camp this past weekend.
Scott Glennie is quietly coming to the AHL this season with a lot of promise, potential and pressure upon his shoulders but the excitement level has never really existed with him like it should with other top 10 draft picks. Glennie has done a tremendous job overall in the WHL since being drafted in 2009, yet he hasn't really made a push for the NHL just yet -- adding to an increasing level of disappointment for Joe Nieuwendyk's first draft pick before he even steps foot on the ice at the AAC.
Jack Campbell is incredibly important to the future of this franchise. The Stars chose to pick a franchise goaltender over a potential franchise defenseman and while Kari Lehtonen has been tremendous, Campbell is going to quickly become a cornerstone of this organization. After a rocky start to his pro career, he's shown the fire, passion and talent that led him to be a first round pick this summer working with the US development camp.
The Stars have a number of prospects pushing for time in the NHL and are closer than others whose overall potential might be greater. So how do we determine who is ranked higher, a player with higher potential or a player who is closer to the NHL? The criteria for these rankings are very subjective and the top five was very hard to really nail down. Based on what transpired at the Stars' development camp and what's happened over this summer so far, there's a bit of a shakeup at the top.
Our rankings, after the jump.
August, 2011 Dallas Stars Top 20 Prospect Rankings
1. Jack Campbell
2. Philip Larsen
3. Jamieson Oleksiak
4. Alex Chiasson
5. Reilly Smith
6. John Klingberg
7. Brenden Dillon
8. Scott Glennie
9. Richard Bachman
10. Tomas Vincour
11. Patrik Nemeth
12. Tyler Beskorowany
13. Matt Fraser
14. Hubert Labrie
15. Troy Vance
16. Austin Smith
17. Alexander Guptill
18. Brett Ritchie
19. Colton Sceviour
20. Curtis McKenzie
Obviously, the big movers here are John Klingberg and Brenden Dillon. Both had extremely impressive showings at the Stars' dev camp and Dillon showed just what had everyone so excited down in Austin last year. He's a well-rounded defenseman who doesn't make mistakes and is more than capable of contributing offensively. That he's right in line with Philip Larsen to be ready for the jump to the NHL is impressive in itself.
Klingberg has been nothing short of magical since being drafted in the fifth round in 2010, jumping up through the ranks in Sweden and then showcasing an incredible talent with the puck on his stick in Dallas last month. He's adding good weight to his small-ish frame and while this season in Finland is going to be a big test for him, there's hope that he's ready for the NHL sooner than anyone ever expected.
Forgotten in all of this is Philip Larsen, who until just 13 months ago was our sole savior on the blue line. With Nemeth, Klingberg, Dillon and Oleksiak adding some excitement to the organization, Larsen has steadily grown into a confident defenseman in the AHL. He'll be given the chance to earn a spot in the NHL next month, and chances are he'll be seeing most of his playing time in the NHL this upcoming season.