The 2012 NHL Draft is a mere 36~ hours away and Glen Gulutzan, who will be there when the Stars selections are made, was quick to credit Joe Nieuwendyk and his extensive draft staff with the bulk of the workload when interviewed by media Wednesday afternoon.
"Les Jackson, certainly - This is his week, and the guys in the field that have traveled literally thousands of miles looking at guys, it's their week. They certainly know their business and they know what players they've identified as guys that fit our Dallas Stars mold."
"Dallas Stars mold"
The Dallas Stars mold is a somewhat ambiguous term that's seemingly being redefined and constructed anew with Gulutzan behind the bench and Gaglardi at the helm of the franchise. A definitive "Dallas Stars mold" certainly existed in the Cup era, running through Gainey to Hitchcock to Tippett - but the financial woes that have seen the team's resources diminish and the hiring of Marc Crawford seemed to muddy what "Dallas Stars" hockey means.
Another draft and free agency in the coming two weeks, and Nieuwendyk's first with his proverbial hands untied, should shed some light on what the Stars view their mold, as Gulutzan put it, and their direction to be. More than the individuals added and the roster constructed in it's entirety for whatever exists of the 2012-2013 NHL season, the decision making process and direction the front office displays could be the most significant developments this off-season.
After the jump, Gulutzan once again singles out the center position and offers more insight on the 2012 NHL Entry Draft...
"I think they define these guys throughout the season and what kind of character (they have) and what kind of player they are and what their assets are," said Gulutzan of the selection process. "Any time at the draft you want to take the best available player at that position; We have the 13th pick here. Whoever's there that's the best player, regardless of any position, that's the player that we're going to take."
Joe Nieuwendyk has become somewhat notorious for his first-round draft selections in each of his first three years: Scott Glennie, Jack Campbell and Jamie Oleksiak, with the first two receiving the bulk of the scrutiny. For the fourth year in a row the question is
"I think if you have a big, strong kid, doesn't matter where he's from - If he fights a little bit and plays center I think that's what any coach would want right now in the NHL, but there's no preference for us on where he's from."
The question put to Gulutzan there was a little bit of an odd one (asking if where a player comes from - league, school, country, whatever - is preferable) but the Dallas coach took it and once again, as he did on a radio appearance earlier in the month, mentioned getting a center specifically.
We discussed his previous mention here: "2012 NHL Free Agency: Dallas Stars Looking To Add Center; Jamie Benn Back To Wing?"
Girgorenko, Galchenyuk, Faksa, Girgensons, Gaunce - You know their names by now, and you know that the best crop of centers is projected to be gone at least a few picks before the Dallas Stars get their names called, but there it is again. Another mention of getting a center specifically.
"Obviously for me as a coach, you're near sighted and you think hopefully the player we pick can play right away and help right away," continued Gulutzan, "but usually with these young guys it takes time to develop and season them."
Ultimately Gulutzan knows that, whoever the Stars go with at #13, it's a waiting game and it's a gamble.
"I was talking to Les and Joe about that and it's numbers. It's like the lottery. The more balls you have in the bin the better the chance you have to win, so it's numbers in this draft. Numbers and work. We've put in the work, our guys in the field have put in the work, but it is hard to project."
The Stars currently have eight balls in the proverbial bin, so to speak, including two second rounders and two fifth rounders - Two areas in which they've done quite well (Eriksson, Benn, Neal) in recent years. Gulutzan and Gaglardi both have stated "center" firmly and repeatedly in media appearances. Will that wish trump "best player available" depending on how the first round falls? Will the Stars make a trade to make their stated goal come true?
One more day until the exciting reveal.