When Mark Crawford became the head coach of the Dallas Stars, the franchise's philosophy on offense changed. Crawford's style of hockey demands forwards be creative with the puck, excellent stick handlers and (most importantly) blessed with great speed. And by looking at the Stars' prospects playing Junior hockey, you start to see that change in philosophy taking place. The five forwards are all fast play makers with great offensive instincts. And best of all, they're almost exclusively right handed. You can expect all of these players to be playing in the pro levels within two seasons. Mark that prediction down.
Quick note before we begin: Keep in mind that I have not had the opportunity to see these players in person, thus all of my analysis is based off countless hours of reading scouting reports and game recaps around the interwebs. So no, I'm no expert. But I have a fairly good idea.
Scott Glennie, RW
Analysis: When the Stars drafted Glennie with the 8th overall pick in last year's draft, I was among many fans who were surprised by the selection. After reading around the net about Glennie's talent and the kind of season he had this year in Juniors, I'm convinced the Stars made the right selection. Glennie is a right-handed right wing with ridiculous speed, and is easily the best prospect in the Stars' system. Oh, and he scores a lot too, finishing 10th in the Western Hockey League in points this season. Of course, it helps when you play on a line with two 99-point forwards in Matt Calvert and Kings prospect Braydon Schenn. He's the perfect forward for the Stars system under Mark Crawford, a speedy forward with great ability to play the puck. Glennie oozes with confidence, if the quotes from this great piece on DallasStars.com is any indication. As is the case with any player with the penchant for flying around the ice, a concern with Glennie could be injury issues. But Glennie rebounded this year after a broken elbow in 08-09 and a groin injury that caused him to miss the Stars' training camp, so I'm much less worried about injuries with this kid.
Immediate future: Glennie will get a look at training camp in September, and there is a slight (very slight, mind you) chance he makes the NHL roster. But I find it more likely that Glennie will play one final season with the Brandon Wheat Kings before making a jump to the pros. But when he does, his pure talent could help him leapfrog the AHL entirely, much like Jamie Benn did.
Brandon Wheat Kings regular season stats: (after the jump...)
|2009-10 - Scott Glennie||32
|2009 - Scott Glennie||3
Tomas Vincour, RW
Analysis: Blessed with great hands, size (6'2, 205) and a wicked shot, the Stars seem to have found a steal in the fifth round with Vincour. (They seem to have a history of that, by the way. Both Jamie Benn and Tom Wandell were selected in the fifth round in 2005 and 2007, respectively.) What impressed me about Vincour this season was his adaptability. Not many players can keep the same scoring pace after a midseason trade, but Vincour did after moving from Edmonton to the Vancouver Giants in January.. The stat that jumped out at me was his goal scoring numbers....17 of his 26 points in Edmonton were goals, but after the trade to Vancouver Vincour's stats evened out to 12 goals and 10 assists. From what I've read, this is partly because the talent around him with the Vancouver Giants was better, and partly due to the increased playing time with the Giants. Simply put, with the Giants Vincour wasn't asked to carry the offense as much.
Immediate Future: The Dallas Stars signed Vincour to an entry-level deal in March, meaning he will play with the Texas Stars next season. Don't expect many call-ups until late in the season, though, as I would imagine the franchise would like to give Vincour a full season in the pros.
Edmonton Oil Kings/Vancouver Giants stats:
|2009 - Tomas Vincour
Tyler Beskorowany, G
Analysis: The 2008 2nd round pick got a LOT of action this season playing for the Kingston Frontenacs. Beskorowany was 29-25-4 with a 3.52 GAA and .903 save percentage. Not great stats, but as usual the numbers don't tell the entire story. Like I said, he played a ton this season behind a defense that gave up the most shots on goal in the Ontario Hockey League. There's only so much a goalie can do when his defense is that porous. Beskorowany is blessed with a 6'4 frame and "excellent reflexes and a sharp glove hand". He spent part of the year as a backup with the Idaho Steelheads, the Stars' ECHL affiliate.
Immediate Future: Most likely will be the starting goaltender with the Steelheads next season.
Stats with the Kingston Frontenacs:
|2009-10 - Tyler Beskorowany||62
Tristan King, C
Analysis: From reading up on King, it's hard to believe that he went un-drafted. His 65 points this season is nothing to laugh at, and the fact he's played in juniors for four seasons gives him experience that many prospects don't have. HockeysFuture claims he has "excellent stick handling ability and blazing speed', just the kind of forward Mark Crawford drools over. However, I've read he tends to take games off.
Immediate Future: King signed an entry-level deal with the Stars in September. After four years playing junior hockey, King is ready to make the jump to the AHL.
Medicine Hat stats:
|2009-10 - Tristan King
Matt Tassone, RW/C
Analysis: What a tough couple of seasons for Tassone. After shoulder surgery sidelined him for 10 months, Tassone got on the ice for 33 games before a neck injury forced him to wear a neck brace. That said, 19 points in 33 games after coming back from major surgery is an admirable feat. Andrew Stepneski's article on Tassone includes quotes from management that seem to indicate the Stars will take extra effort to get Tassone's career back on track, both on and off the ice. Good for them, because by all accounts Tassone is a great kid with gobs of offensive talent (36 goals in 52 games before his shoulder injury in '08-'09).
Immediate Future: Stars Director of Scouting and Player Development Les Jackson has been quoted as saying that Tassone will get a look with the Texas Stars next season, as long as his health holds up.
Swift Current stats:
|2009 - Matt Tassone