Mar 30, 2012; Vancouver, British Columbia, CANADA; Vancouver Canucks forward Maxim Lapierre (40) is hit from behind by Dallas Stars defenseman Philip Larsen (36) during the first period at Rogers Arena. Mandatory Credit: Anne-Marie Sorvin-US PRESSWIRE
Back in February we looked at the NHL Scoring Equivalencies of the Stars prospects using the equivalency factors researched by Gabe Desjardins. The methodology behind the projections can be found by clicking the long highlighted string of text immediately proceeding this sentence which is also unreasonably long for some reason.
To make a long story short Gabe's methodology focuses on players transitioning directly from a particular league (any level of minor league hockey, and any international professional league) to the NHL. It's nothing more than seeing how difficult a league is compared to the NHL (Canadian Juniors are 29% the difficulty of the NHL, for instance), and using that factor to translate that players production to NHL standards to determine generally where they are in their development.
Instead of just rehashing the equivalencies from February we're going to focus on how they have changed since then. You can find the February equivalencies here. Follow the jump to see which Stars prospects upped their game down the stretch.
We'll start with the group of defensemen where a couple guys took solid steps forward down the stretch.
NHLe Feb: NHL Equivalent Points in February; NHLe: NHL Equivalent Points; Change: Change From February
The two that standout with impressive jumps are Jamie Oleksiak and John Klingberg. Prior to being traded to Niagara of the OHL Oleksiak was fumbling around with 11 points in 31 games which, needless to say, isn't a very inspiring offensive total. In 28 games with Niagara Oleksiak put 21 points on the board to raise his season totals significantly. Whether that is actual development or a function of the team around him remains to be seen, but it's encouraging to say the least.
Klingberg is an interesting case too. It would be easy to shrug at seven points in 36 games across two different professional European leagues, but there are a few things to keep in mind. He's 20 years old playing against grown men. He likely isn't getting tons of ice time. And, he was a very late round pick. Mid-season he made the jump to a historically more difficult league (Finland to Sweden), and saw an uptick in production. It's an encouraging sign for a prospect who hasn't come close to making a name for himself since being drafted that he was able to contribute a bit more in a more difficult league later in the season.
The forward group is still led by the same names overall, but Austin Smith didn't have the stretch run of some of his comrades.
Reilly Smith (somehow) took the biggest step forward of all of the Stars forward prospects in the final weeks of his season despite the really productive season he was already having. His NHL equivalent point total jumped by seven to 41. Not to be outdone, Alex Chiasson pushed his equivalent point total to 41 also. Both players are excellent prospects, and a full training camp will do wonders to show where they are in their development. Chiasson should make the roster out of camp and be a solid contributor as a rookie. Reilly is going to have more to work on if his very small sample to end the NHL season is any indication.
Since February the Stars have seen some important development for the future of the defense corps (mainly Oleksiak), and some impressive development up front from Reilly Smith and Chiasson. It wasn't all rosy though. Ideally Patrik Nemeth would have taken a step forward offensively. Scott Glennie is still struggling to find his offensive game as well with no less than 11 forward prospects producing more than he did last year. Overall it has been a good year for Stars prospects though, and we legitimately do have a few kids to be excited about seeing next season.