Mike Winther thinks Stars PR man Greg Ramirez is hilarious.
The 2012 NHL Draft is in the books and the Dallas Stars have filled their coffers to the max with a total of nine picks in a seven round draft. Radek Faksa from the Czech Republic highlights a class of four centers, three defensemen, a goaltender and a right wing.
Here's a quick run-down of the Stars selections...
|1||13||DAL||RADEK FAKSA||C||CZE||6' 2"||200||OHL|
|2||43||DAL||LUDWIG BYSTROM||D||SWE||6' 0"||169||SWE-JR.|
|2||54||DAL||MIKE WINTHER||C||CAN||6' 0"||172||WHL|
|2||61||DAL||DEVIN SHORE||C||CAN||6' 0"||185||OJHL|
|3||74||DAL||ESA LINDELL||D||FIN||6' 3"||187||FINLAND-JR.|
|4||104||DAL||GEMEL SMITH||C||CAN||5' 10"||164||OHL|
|5||134||DAL||BRANDEN TROOCK||RW||CAN||6' 2"||194||WHL|
|5||144||DAL||HENRI KIVIAHO||G||FIN||6' 1"||167||FINLAND-JR.|
True to their pre-draft musings, the Stars took center after center, acquiring four in all in this draft and five including Coy Eakin in the Mike Ribeiro trade of yesterday evening. As we guessed they also took a goaltender in the later rounds, Kiviaho from Finland.
The Stars got good value in this draft, with Faksa and Bystrom at the top both being ranked initially far higher than where they were taken, and they were able to draft great depth as well, filling holes at center and goaltender with nine picks. Many felt left wing was a position of need coming in, however, and they didn't take a single one of those. That will be a developing narrative for next season.
Remember though that not all centers taken in drafts remains centers when they reach the professional ranks. Reilly Smith and Scott Glennie (and Tomas Vincour depending on who you ask) were classified as centers at one point and all now are on the wing. So there's some flexibility there long term.
After the jump we run down a brief summary and evaluation of all NINE picks... What is your initial impression of this draft as a whole?
Radek Faksa, C:
The jewel of this draft class for Dallas, the young center from the Czech Republic was slated as high as 6 or 7 in some mock drafts but he feel nicely to the Stars at #13.
"The 18 year-old center from the Czech Republic was taken 22nd in the CHL's Import Draft last June as he, like his countryman Tomas Vincour, came to North America to pursue his dream of one day playing in the NHL. Faksa thrived in his rookie season with the Rangers, putting up better than a point a game while climbing his way up the draft rankings.
"We know he's a world-class offensive player," says his (now) former coach Steve Spott with Kitchener, "but I think what makes him attractive to NHL scouts is the fact he might play earlier than expected because he's able to defend at what I consider an elite level right now."
Faksa does not dazzle offensively, yet, but holds his own and scouts say he could be a 40 goal scorer with Kitchener next year. His offensive game could continue to bloom, but it's his work ethic, character, and elite defending that makes people think he can be a good second-line center in the National Hockey League some day.
Ludwig Bystrom, D:
Scout describe him as poised and at his best when he as the puck. He's a slick skater who makes a great first pass and operates well under pressure. Some reports call him smaller, though it's hard to believe if he's already 6-0 and getting bigger. He's just 18 years old and will fill out in the coming seasons as all these prospects do.
Expect him to remains overseas for the time being to further develop his game and grow into his frame. We'll likely see him in the World Junior Championships playing for Sweden this holiday season and the next. It's a good pick up for the Stars and another guy with potentially high-end skill. Scouts project him to a good second pairing guy in the NHL with some power play time.
Mike Winther, C:
Mike Winther has the potential to end up being a top 9 goal scoring forward. He is slightly smaller than would be ideal but has time to grow. He's not a playmaker but instead is a reasonably talented sniper. Several seasons ago his weakness was that he didn't use his teammates enough; however, this is no longer the case, and he is a team player.
Mike Winther has the potential to become an all rounder with the ability to play both the PK and PP. He does shy away from the physical gritty game due to his lack of size. He will need to work on his upper body strength in order to become an effective player at the NHL level. However he makes up this weakness with good hands and excellent skating ability. - Huw Wales
Devin Shore, C:
Shore played in the OJHL last year, becoming the top rookie in that league, rocketing to his team's top line instantly and producing well (58 points in 41 games played). He has been drafted into the OHL but has committed to Maine and has made no secret that the NCAA has been his preferred destination. Joe Nieuwendyk, as we all know, has a fondness for college players.
Shore is described by most as a play-making center - A guy with a better pass than a shot. He's young, still growing, but has decent size for someone at this stage of his career. Hockey's Future says his "two-way game could use some work, but he isn't a major defensive liability." Plenty of time to work on that.
Esa Lindell, D:
Esa Lindell is a big but raw defender from Finland. He has the potential to be an offensive force, as he was the highest scoring defenseman in the U20 league. He needs to work on his skating which is weak, something that needs to be improved if he wants to become an effective defenseman in North America. However several years of refinement in Finland will help improve this.
He has an excellent shot and likes to jump in front of the net in order to help produce goals for his team. He occasionally appears as a fourth forward for Jokerit U20. He will need a lot of time to refine his game in the Finnish leagues and will hopefully play some good minutes for Jokerit of the SM-Liiga. He does need to work on his defensive game. Like all offensive defenseman, they often focus on the offensive effort rather than their own zone.
Gemel Smith, C:
This one comes as a bit of a departure for the Stars as they've shown a propensity to draft big bodies in the last couple of years, and Smith is anything but at just 5-10, 164 pounds. He's described as having a good two-way game and fantastic wheels. He won the fastest skater competition at the CHL's Top Prospects game this winter.
From The Hockey Writers: "Smith's best trait may be his versatility. He scored seven power-play goals, two short-handed goals and two game-winning goals. He was used in every situation and the numbers bear out that he wasn't too shabby in any of them. Such results can only help boost his confidence and encourage the Owen Sound coaching staff to give him even more chances to shine."
Branden Troock, RW:
Brendan Troock is a physical and hard hitting right winger from the Seattle Thunderbirds. He is expected to be a bottom six forward at the NHL level. He is a hard working and character forward who has battled injuries and has worked through them. He adds some size up front in a draft which generally has been smaller for the Stars. He also adds even more depth to a crowded right wing. - Huw Wales.
Henri Kiviaho, G:
We speculated yesterday that the Stars would take a goaltender in the later rounds and here he is, though little is known about him. He's a young kid from Finland, listed variously as 6'1" or 6'2", and he should stay overseas for a number of years developing. Henri Kiviaho had a 2.78 goals against average and a .909 save percentage in Finnish junior hockey this past season. He's not included in many scouting reports, though with the Stars presence in the Scandinavian countries and Mike Valley helping you know the Stars did some homework on the young man.
Dmitry Sinitsyn, D:
Dallas essentially moved up in the 7th round, exchanging next years 7th rounder for the Kings 7th rounder this year, then traded their own 7th to Florida for a 7th next season. That bit of confusing maneuvering was to talk Dmitry Sinitsyn, collegiate athlete from UMass and a former member of the Dallas Stars U-16 hockey club that they were perhaps familiar with already.
There you have it. Your 2012 NHL Draft class.
I am exhausted.
What do you think?