Not much to say before we get to the top four spots in our rankings, other than it's become clear as we've gone through this process just how far the Dallas Stars have come in just a few short years. Joe Nieuwendyk and his front office have done a masterful job of using the draft to restock the system and create excitement in the franchise far beyond that which we see at the AAC.
Never before have Dallas Stars had a reason to pay this much attention to the prospects in the system and yet here we are, completely invested in the development of not just these 20 players but many others who did not make this list this time around.
Onto the final rankings.
Top 20 Dallas Stars Prospects:
1. Jack Campbell
2. Alex Chiasson
4. Radek Faksa
5. Reilly Smith
6. Scott Glennie
7. Patrik Nemeth
8. Ludwig Bystrom
9. Matej Stransky
10. Brett Ritchie
11. Alex Guptill
12. Matt Fraser
13. Emil Molin
14. Austin Smith
15. Jyrki Jokipakka
16. Devin Shore
17. Scott Winkler
18. Dmitry Sinitsyn
19. Troy Vance
20. John Klingberg
No. 1. Jack Campbell, G - Texas Stars (AHL)
2011-12 Totals: 12 GP, 4-7-0, .912 Sv5, 3.02 GAA, 1 SO (AHL)
Drafted: 1st round, 11th overall, 2010
Brandon: Jack Campbell will always be a very controversial draft pick, but there is no doubt in my mind that he remains the top prospect in the Stars system with the absolute most value and potential. The netminder is still two years away from being seriously considered for NHL action, but if his performance in the AHL at the end of last season is any indication -- it could be a very fun two years. Campbell's mechanics and athleticism are off the charts but it is his competitive drive and mentality that truly define who he is as a player. He is one of the more approachable and personable hockey players you'll ever meet, he absolutely despises losing and his competitive nature is infectious. What Campbell needs to do is to become more consistent against top competition and he'll have a fresh start this year in Austin to help accomplish that.
Huw: Jack Campbell is, once again, the top prospect within the Dallas Stars prospect system. He is an excellent young goaltender who, despite putting up poor numbers in the OHL, has a future as a top goalie within the NHL. His poor numbers within the OHL can be attributed to playing for some of the worse teams in the OHL. His brief 12 game stint in Texas at the end of last season also saw him put up less than glorious number, though in that case most of the Texas Stars roster were putting up bad numbers and seemed unable to click. With an influx of new talent into Austin, both offensive and defensive, he could help backstop the Texas Stars out of the less than impressive performance they had last year. He's a big, talented and mentally determined goaltender who has a very bright future ahead of him. Unless he has a stunning season next year I think its likely that we will see him playing in Austin for the next couple of years before assuming the backup role in Dallas.
No. 2. Alex Chiasson, RW -- Texas Stars (AHL)
2011-12 Totals: 38 GP, 15 G, 31 A, 46 PTS, 67 PIM (+15) (NCAA)
Drafted: 2nd round, 38th overall, 2009
Brandon: Alex Chiasson has come a very long way since being drafted in 2009. He entered Boston University with questions on his work ethic and character and emerged into the AHL last season as perhaps the most NHL-ready prospect in the Dallas Stars system. He's a playmaking winger with good size (6-3, 205) who possesses an NHL-ready shot that he doesn't use often enough. He's physical along the boards and able to make nifty passes from the perimeter; his ability to play on both ends of the ice and play a grinding style on offense has made him most likely to be the first NHL callup for forwards. He can be effective as a third or fourth line player while developing in the NHL, while he certainly possesses the potential as top six, high-scoring forward.
Huw: Alex Chiasson is another big bodied forward that the Stars have coming to Austin this season. After spending three years with Boston University he now is turning pro and there are high expectations on him. He is considered more NHL ready than fellow Texas Stars Reilly Smith and has developed his defensive game more effectively. He uses his body to protect the puck very well and he has the ability to score as well. It's the combination of his size, high offensive talent and his improving defensive technique that make him one of the top prospects of an ever- mproving prospect system. He is assumed to be one of the first players that would called up from the AHL if injuries struck but could have also been a surprise inclusion on the roster if he had dominated at training camp.
No. 3. Jamie Oleksiak, D -- Texas Stars (AHL)
2011-12 Totals: 57 GP, 12 G, 19 A, 31 PTS, 47 PIM, (+26) (OHL)
Drafted: 1st round, 14th overall, 2011
Brandon: Yet another prospect that fans targeted before the draft that fell into the lap of the Stars. Oleksiak, simply put, is an absolute beast. Much is made of his size (6-7, 254) but it's what he is able to do with that size that is most amazing. He's as fluid a skater as you'll find on defense and uses superb positioning, mechanics and an inhuman reach to be most effective in his own zone. His puck skills and shot are underrated and he is still finding confidence in his offense; after being traded to Niagara last season, Oleksiak put up 23 points and an plus-27 in just 28 games. It's tough to truly describe just how smooth Oleksiak is on the ice -- he's definitely someone you have to actually see in person to really get a good sense of what the rest of us are talking about.
Huw: Behemoth defenseman Jamie Oleksiak had a slow start last season with the Saginaw Spirit scoring only 10 points and registering -1 in 29 games. He however picked up substantially playing with the Niagara IceDogs scoring 21 points and registering +27 in 28 games. He's a giant of a defenseman at 6"7 but skates very well for his size. He might not throw his body around to land the huge hits but he's effective defensively using both the length of his stick and his body to protect the puck and to shut down opposing forwards. Its going to be interesting to see how well he adapts to the AHL game but it will be a good experience for him, especially considering the AHL competition this season will be far higher while the lockout lasts. If all goes well Jamie Oleksiak could be suiting up for the Dallas Stars if injuries strike this season (whenever it starts) or on a semi permanent/permanent basis for the 2013-2014 season.
No. 4. Radek Faksa, C/LW -- Kitchener (OHL)
2011-12 Totals: 62 GP, 29 G, 38 A, 67 PTS, 47 PIM (+19)
Drafted: 1st round, 13th overall, 2012
Brandon: What else can we say about Radek Faksa? This is the center that we all wanted headed into the draft, a playmaking center with great defensive ability who is strong at nearly everything he does. He's not the flashiest of players, which is apparently held against him by some, but his intangibles and what he brings aside from actual production cannot be overlooked. Faksa will likely be at the top of this list by the end of this season and will likely be ready to make the jump to the NHL next year, depending on how the depth at center works itself out. Faksa projects as a second-line center able to eat up tough minutes, the exact type of player this team has needed for too long.
Huw: The first round pick of the Dallas Stars in 2012 fulfilled a need in the Dallas Stars prospect system. It had been lacking a natural large centre and Radek Faksa fits this need perfectly. Radek Faksa is a good all around player who has the potential to excel at least as a second line centre. Though he is generally very good at every situation he is not incredibly amazing at any one thing. He's a big forward at 6"3 and has earned a reputation for using his body effectively. It was thought after the draft the Radek Faksa was one of the most NHL ready players and could make the jump. However with the lockout looming it appears unlikely that Faksa will get the chance to play in the NHL. Also the Dallas Stars have a reputation for not rushing prospects. Another season in the OHL will do him good as he has only had one season of North American hockey so far. Dominating the OHL will definitely put him on the path to a top six position in the NHL.