What a great title... When the Dallas Stars hit rough times, I can't help but wonder about how much longer until the prospect farm we have been raising over the past few years makes it's full impact at the NHL level. So, why not make a giant list about it to organize my thoughts, and let others ponder on it as well? Here goes!
*To be clear, this list will show all of the Stars' future, from Jamie Benn, to Kari Lehtonen, to Brett Ritchie, to Jamie Oleksiak, etc. This is basically a giant list with opinions I've compiled over this past (Yet still ongoing) season of hockey on what our future will ultimately be.
*I'm not including current Stars players who won't be here long-term. Ex. Fiddler, Jo. Benn, prospects without a real chance to make the NHL like Taylor Vause, etc....
*I'm putting guys based on where they prefer to play. Ex. Reilly Smith is being used as a LW, naturally a RW.
*Key Format- Name: FINAL potential based off of this season: Extra comments and/or statistics.
Centers (8 signed/9 total)
Jamie Benn: 1st line power center or winger: It's Jamie Benn, need I comment...
Cody Eakin: 2nd or 3rd line two-way center: Having a great rookie season with Dallas.
Radek Faksa: 2nd or 3rd line two-way center: Quite a rough time in the OHL this year with a long injury, lack of goal production; seems to have his development stalled.
Emil Molin: 2nd or 3rd line (What kind of?) center: Bounced all around the Swedish leagues with varying ice-times.
Devin Shore: 1st or 2nd line power center: One heck of a freshman year as Maine's top center.
Gemel Smith: 3rd line energy center: Near point-per-game pace this year in the OHL.
Scott Winkler: Bottom 6 grinder center: Finished with college, could be a good center on a NHL fourth line.
Mike Winther: 2nd or 3rd line playmaking center: Pretty good year in the OHL, may be moved to LW as a pro.
Potential addition: Justin Dowling: Bottom 6 playmaking center: Tearing it up with the Texas Stars, only 22.
Left Wingers (4 signed/total)
Loui Eriksson: Top 6 two-way player: Loui is Loui, will play all over the line-up, scores, assists, and plays defense.
Matt Fraser: Top 6 SNIPER: Built to tear up a goalie's stats, made for the powerplay, has improved his defense this year.
Alexander Guptil: Top 6 power forward: Point-per-game pace in the NCAA, watch out for him in Texas or the NCAA next year.
Curtis Mckenzie: 3rd line or bottom 6 checking forward: Big body, not the fastest or most offensively gifted, meant to kill penalties.
Right Wingers (9 signed/total)
Reilly Smith: Top 6 goal-scorer: Once he puts some weight on, he will be an effective and needed goal scoring RW for Dallas, great upside once he figures it out in the NHL.
Tomas Vincour: 3rd line (What kind of?) forward: His development has been screwed up without consistent ice time in any league, still has time to become a 2nd liner, but not likely. Gifted, needs consistent NHL time to find the back of the net.
Scott Glennie: 3rd line goal-scorer: BELIEVE IN GLENNIE! Lemme explain his situation. He was over-ranked come his draft year because he played on a loaded Wheat KIngs team. He has been hampered by injuries and a lack-of conditioning through the years, but since returning to the AHL in early March (After working out with the Stars' conditioning coach the past two months), he has lit up and played very well under 3rd line minutes with 4 points in 4 games.
Brett Ritchie: Top 6 power-forward: Has more skill than most PWFs. Can be a great 2nd liner in the future. Good skater with offensive instincts, said to have the hardest shot in the OHL.
Colton Sceviour: Bottom 6 checking forward: At the NHL level, he won't light-the-lamp, but will play defense and score every once in a-while.
Matej Stransky: Top 6 goal-scorer: Great at everything, except for O.K. skating and defense. Lit up OHL the past few seasons, with the right development, can be another great player for Dallas.
Brandon Troock: Bottom 6 (What kind of?) player: Hampered by injuries, may never even make the pros with his problems, quite a bit of talent that will probably, but hopefully not, go to waste.
Defense (13 signed/total)
Trevor Daley: 2nd pairing two-way d-man: Always had the potential to light it up, but can't finish. Useful and hard working player.
Alex Goligoski: 2nd pairing offensive d-man: Finding his groove, pairing him well, and his confidence are key to him utilizing his offensive vision to help score. Great player under the right circumstances.
Brenden Dillon: #2 or #3 defensive d-man: Uses his size to clear the crease and stick-checks well. Hits well. Decent offensive tools, but will never be a big scorer in the NHL.
Philip Larsen: #4-6 offensive d-man: Having a rough year without consistent ice-time, seems to be finding his groove as of late, but what he really will become is to be determined.
Ludwig Bystrom: 2nd pairing offensive d-man: A great 2nd round pick, will hopefully become a good offensive defense-man, hasn't had consistent ice-time, but he still has great raw tools.
Jyrki Jokipakka: #4-6 two-way d-man: Has good potential, his transfer to North American hockey will be a huge developmental factor.
John Klingberg: #3-5 two-way d-man: Injured most of this year, but he is still another great defenseman coming out of Europe.
Esa Lindell: #3-6 two-way d-man: Great raw tools, too early to tell what's in store for him...
Joseph Morrow: #1-3 offensive d-man: The top offensive d-man the Stars have had in a while; how his professional development goes dictates his final outcome, but he looks to be a great steal for Dallas.
Patrik Nemeth: #3-5 defensive d-man: Has been injured for the past month or so, but still is a great, big body to help Dallas clear the crease one day.
Jamie Oleksiak: #1-3 two-way d-man: Has good offensive potential combined with massive size. He doesn't utilize either as best as he will be able to one day, but still another great d-man that Dallas will love for a long time.
Dmitry Sinitsyn: #4-6 two-way d-man: Rookie year in NCAA has been interesting, too early to tell what will become of him.
Troy Vance: #5-7 two-way d-man: Not the best upside, will probably not make the NHL; will be a very useful minor-leaguer. But he's still young, so let's wait on him a bit longer.
Goalies (4 signed/total)
Kari Lehtonen: Elite NHLer: Praise Kari, that's all.
Jack Campbell: Starter/elite NHLer: Decent year in the AHL, time will tell for Jack...
Richard Bachman: Backup NHLer: Still could become a journeyman starter, but after this rough year, I'm not sure...
Henri Kiviaho: Backup NHler: Great season in Europe, still very young, but has the potential to be good.
Come this draft, the Stars really need to bolster the LW position, as well as take some risks on high-risk, high-reward players. I think they've been scared since Glennie to do that, but they have to at some time to be ultimately balanced and loaded everywhere at the NHL and prospect levels. Dallas also needs to get returns for whatever players they can, like Roy, Robidas, Jagr, Whitney, Cole, Nystrom, Fiddler, failed prospects, etc. This is all key to Dallas becoming an elite team for years to come.
*Please lemme know what you guys who actually read this think, feel, agree, disagree with, and such in the comments. This is my first post, so people's opinions will help me grow as an "intense fan" who likes to write about the Stars! Comments can vary on writing, editing, actual hockey talk/opinions, and such. Thanks!