The Dallas Stars wrapped up the first true Jim Nill draft today. Last year, he was at the draft table for the Stars but a lot of the current staff hadn't been in place yet, as a few came from the Detroit Red Wings system.
Nill identified defense as a priority this draft, it seems. After going forward heavy last year, the majority of picks this summer were used to stockpile defense for the Stars organization.
Here's a summary of what the Stars took this year.
|Round||Pick||Position||Name||Size||Team||Scouting Report Summary|
|1||14||D||Julius Honka||5'11", 180||WHL (Swift Current Broncos)||Great skating ability; smart hockey decisions; power play quarterback|
|2||45||C||Brett Pollock||6'2", 185||WHL (Edmonton Oil Kings)||Good puck skills and ice vision|
|3||75||D||Alex Peters||6'4", 205||OHL (Plymouth)||Makes smart decisions; active stick; reads defensive plays well|
|4||105||D||Michael Prapavessis||6'1", 174||OJHL (Toronto)||Makes good decisions; cerebral assessments; smart hockey player|
|4||115||G||Brent Moran||6'3", 185||OHL (Niagara Ice Dogs)||Quick; reflexive; fluid control and recovery|
|5||135||D||Miro Karjalainen||6'5", 205||FIN (Jokerit Jr)||Huge; physical|
|6||154||D||Aaron Haydon||6'4", 200||OHL (Niagara Ice Dogs)||Huge; physical; possesses good puck skill|
|6||165||D||John Nyberg||6'2", 180||SWE (Frolunda Jr)||Stay at home type|
|7||195||D||Patrick Sanvido||6'5", 218||OHL (Windsor Spitfires)||Stay at home type; moves puck well|
The common thread among many of these picks is the hockey sense remarks. A lot of these guys are described as making smart outlet passes, making smart defensive reads, and having good hockey sense. A lot of them also have skating ability as a positive.
They also went big. The smallest guy they took was Honka, who has a lot of offensive upside and fills the most glaring need Dallas has in their prospect system: right handed power play quarterback.
What we can infer from the draft that Nill completed is that the elusive #1 D every team is looking for must be grown from within. With so many teams locking down their good guys for long term and top dollar, the days of going out and getting that help on the free agency market are dwindling.
So you take a lot of them and you hope that one pans out to be "that guy". At the worst, you have some that never pan out. Then you have some that become solid contributors throughout your organization. Maybe one becomes the #1 guy you're looking for, and maybe you just get a good #2.
The Stars are giving themselves the depth to be able to find their future defensive stalwarts, and also building up depth at the most valued position in the league as somewhere they can deal from in order to get future needs met through trades.
Here's Jim Nill on the draft, from the Dallas Stars website.