I know it's slightly early (Very early in fact) to be thinking of this but it's something to think about in this period between seasons... What I've learnt so far from looking around is that many people think this draft could be even more talented than the previous years, and in particular has a huge number of defensemen that could go in the first round. Some predict that as many as 20 could be taken in the first round alone. Considering that we have pretty well restocked our defence prospects over the last two drafts it would seem logical that we would aim to take a forward with our first round pick. But with so many potential franchise defensemen in the first round do we stick to picking the best player available. Here are a couple of players that I thought might be interesting, and worth to keep an eye on over the next year to see how they develop towards the draft.
(At this point I would like to say these players are probably not going to be top 5 and I'd like to think we would finish at least around mid league I have focused on players that could be around the middle of the first round, though this early it is purely guesswork. Most of the these I found from this website for anyone who wants to look at other players that could be future Dallas Stars http://dansallows.com/2012-nhl-draft-50-top-prospects/ All of the reports on the players are also from this website)
D, Griffin Reinhart, 6-4, 210 lbs. D, Edmonton Oil Kings WHL, 45 GP, 6 G, 19 A, 25 PTS (Though he is likely to go higher than where I hope we will be at the end of next season)
'The hulking defenseman has it all, size and skill, and does so many good things on the ice. He moves incredibly well for a big guy, has a cannon-like shot, makes clean, crisp first passes, never panics with the puck, and loves getting physically engaged. He has the same make-up of Nashville’s Shea Weber, and the bloodlines as well, as his father is former NHL great Paul Reinhart.'
C, Brendan Gaunce, 6-2, 205 lbs. Belleville Bulls OHL, 65 GP, 11 G, 25 A, 36 PTS
'Gaunce is a big centre, that plays a responsible two-way game, and still manages to get points. He may be next years Mark Scheifele of the draft. The 17-year-old has great vision and skating ability, tremendous hockey sense, a pro calibre shot, and unbelievable leadership qualities on and off the ice. The kid is mature beyond his years, and will do anything necessary to make his teammates better, and win hockey games. The playmaking centre helped Team Ontario capture gold at the 2011 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge, potting 3 goals and 4 points in 6 games.'
F, Henrik Samuelsson, 6-3, 200 lbs. U.S. National U17 Team USDP, 38 GP, 12 G, 16 A, 28 PTS
'In my mind, there were few better than big Henrik Samuelsson at the World U17’s this year, as he racked up 6 goals and 10 points in 5 games for the US, en route to the silver medal. He is a big, strong forward, that has an excellent shot and tremendous hands. That combined with his size, hockey IQ, and hockey bloodlines (son of former NHLer Ulf Samuelsson) should easily be enough to have scouts salivating at the possibilities of the 17-year-old talent. He gained some valuable experience playing in the USHL this season, and while representing his country at the IIHF World Under-18’s as well.'
D, Mathew Dumba, 6-0, 185 lbs. Red Deer Rebels WHL, 62 GP, 15 G, 11 A, 26 PTS
'It is hard not to love what the electrifying blueliner does on the ice, as he will wow you with a nice rush, stun you with a tremendous pass, hammer a shot from the point, or blow your mind by dishing out a Scott Stevens-like hit. He absolutely owned the 2011 World Under-17’s, leading the tournament in scoring with 12 assists in 6 games, en route to helping Team Pacific capture the bronze medal. He may be a wildcard to go in the top-6, but it wouldn’t shock me.'
RW, Martin Frk, 6-1 203 lbs. Halifax Mooseheads QMJHL, 62 GP, 22 G, 28 A, 50 PTS
'Frk more than held his own in his first year in the Q. The pure goal scorer has good size and uses it all over the ice, he is an excellent skater that has a great shot, great hockey sense and vision, and isn’t afraid to go to the dirty areas of the ice in order to be rewarded. The Mooseheads general manager Cam Russell compared the talented Czech power forward to a Cam Neely-type player. His all-round, natural offensive ability will likely be on numerous NHL scouts wish list for next years draft.'
F, Zemgus Girgensons, 6-2, 200 lbs. Dubuque Fighting Saints USHL, 51 GP, 21 G, 28 A, 49 PTS
'Latvian forward had an up and down season in the USHL, but still helped his Dubuque Fighting Saints to a Clark Cup Championship. His size and overall package is very intriguing, as he is a great two-way forward, that is the hardest working player on the ice most nights. He has great hockey sense and vision, good hands, decent size, is strong on the puck, a solid skater, and has unlimited potential. Girgensons has been compared to both Jonathan Toews and Mark Messier, and was selected by the Kelowna Rockets in the 2011 CHL Import Draft though he committed to the University of Vermont for 2012-13.'
D, Olli Määttä, 6-2, 198 lbs. JYP U20 Jr. A SM-liiga, 19 GP, 2 G, 6 A, 8 PTS
'The London Knights knew what they were getting when the selected the big Finnish defenseman first overall in the 2011 CHL Import Draft. The 16-year-old has already played amongst the top U20’s in the World, and has a ton of size and skill. He is very Adam Larsson-like, as he is can absolutely dominate all over the ice physically, and has some untapped offensive potential as well. If he performs like he is capable of in the OHL next season, he could easily be a top-10 guy come the 2012 NHL Entry Draft.'
D, Pascal Zerressen, 6-5, 216 lbs. Krefelder EV 1981 U18, 31 GP, 9 G, 33 A, 42 PTS
'Zerressen defends well with his long reach and big frame, makes good decisions with the puck and never seems to panic, sees the ice incredibly well, has good hockey sense, a nice shot, can quarterback the power-play, lead the rush, and skates very well for his size. The Prince George Cougars were interested in acquiring the towering blueliner, but he’s opted to spend another year playing against men in Germany, which should only help his development. He’s set out to get bigger, stronger and more physical this summer, and should attract some attention in his second time around.'
Anyway, I hope this is interesting and any opinions on these guys and any others who you might like to see in a Stars uniform would be great.