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The Dallas Star's 2012 NHL Draft: Thoughts On The Draft

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So after spending some time stepping back from the draft it's time to analyze the players that the Stars have selected and how well they have done with their picks. Firstly there is the obvious point that this draft can't be considered a failure or a success for anyone yet. We will only know that four or maybe five years down the line. But what is the perception now? Did the Stars pull off some steals, did they pass over a better player and have they helped the organization improve in the future (and perhaps the more immediate future)?

The reaction from the majority of DBDers appears to be that this was a good draft for the Stars and that they managed to get away with a complete steal picking Radek Faksa in the first round. On this point I would certainly agree with you. I have been a big fan of Radek Faksa for a long time and not even in my wildest dreams did I ever think there was a situation where he would still be on the board by the time the Stars picked at number 13. However he was and he has become one of the most talented prospects the Stars have and has become the best of the center prospects the Stars have. His work ethic, good character, excellent talent, size and potential make him one of my favorite Stars prospects along side Alex Chiasson, Matej Stransky and Reilly Smith. Could Faksa be in a Dallas Stars jersey for opening night? Its a possibility but far from certain.

So with the majority of fans happy with the selection of Radek Faksa I now want to look beyond the first round. To think about the other 8 prospects who become part of the Dallas Stars organization, all of whom will be at the Stars Development Camp between 5th and 12th of July. All this after the jump.

Firstly let us turn our attention to our three second round picks. I would have liked to have used these to get another pick in the mid/late first round however I believe that if such a deal where available then Joe Nieuwendyk would have gone for it. It wasn't, so the Stars got to pick three prospects in a somewhat deep second tier. Players picked between 14-50 were generally around the same potential ceiling so getting three picks in the first 54 and four in 61 meant the Stars were able to pick up some prospects who have good potential and skill level.

Ludvig/Ludwig/Ludvik Bystrom D - Firstly I'd like to know for sure how to spell his first name because I have seen it spelled in all three ways. The Stars call him Ludvig so until I am told that that is wrong I will call him Ludvig. I have to admit that I never expected him to be available within the second round and felt he would be gone by the end of the first. I was very happy that the Stars managed to pick him up then.

He's a solid two way defender who has the potential to become a top four defenseman in the NHL. He is stronger in his own zone but has show some flashes of potential to become an effective player on the power-play. He is a smooth skater and appears to be atypical of many defensemen coming out of Sweden. He isn't a big hitting defender, instead he uses smart plays, excellent stick work and crisp passes to get his team out of any trouble. He suffered a little this season because he was better than the majority of the competition for Modo in the SuperElit playing for the ModoJ20 but he wasn't given the ice time required to be effective when playing for the big club in the Allsvenskan. His contract at the moment is for Modo J20 but I find it hard to believe that he won't see time playing for the big club. If he does end up playing in the Allsvenskan he will hopefully move up their depth charts which should help his development. The fact of the matter is that he is too good for the juniors and playing him against inferior competition won't help his development.

Mike Winther LW/C - If I am being brutally honest I had really hoped they would use this pick to select Tim Bozon who by all accounts had possibly the nicest play-making skills in the entire draft. However the more I learn about Mike Winther the more I feel that the Stars made a good choice, it might not be the one I would have made, but nevertheless a good choice.

He entered the WHL with the hopes that he would become a potent play-making centreman for the Prince Albert Raiders. Instead after two seasons in the WHL he appears to have become a talented sniper using this skill to score from the edge of the zone. He appears to have originally been a do it all himself player but as this season has progressed he has overcome this issue and has become effective at using his linemates. Playing on the Raiders top line appears to be to his liking, he increased his point production by sixfold this season. His defensive work is sound and he is effective on the back check. Scouts disagree on the physicality of his game, some suggest he shies away from contact while others don't mention this as a problem. In time I imagine Dallas Stars fans will find out. Despite many scouts listing him as a center he has spent most of this season on the left wing. This might help the shallowness of good prospects on the left wing. He will likely spend the next two seasons playing in the WHL before heading to Austin.

Devin Shore C - Devin Shore is one of a series of prospects that have been drafted out of the CJHL (Canadian Junior Hockey Leagues) that have included Jamie Benn and Reilly Smith. Shore was another player that I felt could be a good fit with the Dallas Stars and could be an excellent prospect and player in the future.

Devin Shore decided not to play in the OHL with the Barrie Colts instead deciding that his future would best be served by heading to the NCAA. He played with the Whitby Fury of the OJHL this season and was named OJHL rookie of the year. He will be playing next season for the University of Maine's Black Bears. He is described as having excellent offensive instincts and the ability to be a relatively high end playmaker. He knows where to be on the ice in order to get the puck and has good anticipation skills. His skating style is considered ugly and could be more efficient, in time and refinement his skating could be improved. The biggest weakness is his defensive play, he loses his man too often and also has a habit of cheating on offensive moving away from defensive duties in order to prepare for a potential breakaway. However this will likely be resolved as he develops his game at the University of Maine. He is potentially a second or third line player at the NHL level.

Beyond the second round the likelihood of drafting a player who could make it to the NHL significantly decreases. It is the place where many of the projects who could potentially become good but would require everything to go right in their development at least to manage it.

Esa Lindell D - Esa Lindell is the second Nordic player that was selected by the Stars this draft. He is an interesting player with plenty of raw ability. The fact that he managed to lead the Jr A SM-Liiga in points for a defenseman is impressive and points towards a healthy potential offensive prowess. However he hasn't got Alex Goligoski offensive production, instead his offensive skills are more comparable to Trevor Daley. I really like this pick and think it could yield something down the line.

Esa Lindell plays for one of the stalwarts of Finnish Ice Hockey, Jokerit. Over the years they have produced some excellent players that have played both in Finland and in North America such as Teemu Selanne, Valtteri Filppula and the Dallas Stars own Kari Lehtonen. Lindell is a big defenseman at 6"3 and hasn't yet got the skating style that matches his size. His skating also impairs his defensive ability as he hasn't got the mobility to always effectively handle rushing forwards. Skating style can be changed and improved upon so this particular weakness can be resolved. His best asset and one that if it continues to improve and remain at a higher level is his offensive production. Not only did he lead the Jr A SM-Liiga in points for a defenseman he was also in the top 10 in point production in the entire league. Most of his points come on the power play where he has excelled with the addition time and space that the man advantage brings. It will take time to refine Esa Lindell for the North American game but he has the raw potential to become a middle pairing defenseman if all goes well.

Gemel Smith C - Gemel Smith is the kind of player that the Dallas Stars love, excellent work ethic and excellent character. Someone who, despite the obstacles, has put a lot of effort into the game and has become good at it. He might not have the size that has been typically associated with Dallas Stars picks of late but he makes up for it in his energy and commitment.

The first thing to note about Gemel Smith is that he is an incredible skater and one of the fastest in the draft. Interestingly for his size he is actually quite physical and makes sure he finishes his checks. He is incredibly determined, he doesn't like being told he can't do something and tries his hardest to accomplish his aim. He appears to have talent as an agitator being able to get under the skin of many of his opponents. He probably doesn't have the potential to be a top six forward but he would be an effective third line centreman. In a way I can see him fulfilling the kind of role that Steve Ott does for the Stars now. Gemel Smith has some good offensive talent and is often in the right place at the right time to get shots on goal. With his style of play and his attitude if he makes it to the big leagues I can see him becoming a fan favourite very quickly.

Brandon Troock RW - I have to admit when I first saw the Stars had picked Brandon Troock it left me scratching my head a bit. I felt there were some better players that were still available. The Stars are also deep on the right wing with prospects such as Matej Stransky, Austin Smith, Reilly Smith and Brett Ritchie. It would take a special player to persuade the Stars for the need to draft another right wing. It took a bit of research but I found out why they find Brandon Troock special.

Brandon Troock missed the entirety of the 2010-2011 season with nerve damage in his neck, the symtoms of which are akin to concussion(Simular to the kind Sidney Crosby has been suffering from). He came into the 2011-12 season determined to make his mark and to prove he was still capable of being a good player. He showed some hesitation at the start of the season, something not completely unexpected considering the nature and length of his injury woes, but dramatically improved as the season progressed. At 6"3 203lbs he is a big player which makes him perfect for a physical forechecking game. He can outmuscle and outwork most defenders. Despite his size, and the loss of a year of development, he has a powerful skating style. However the year lost has limited his defensive game without the puck. Though he will have time to catch up on this it will need to be improved upon. The most interesting and something that I find very promising that despite Brandon Troock obviously having the skills to excel in a role as a third line checking position he has some underrated offensive talents. He has a pretty good passing technique and his wrister is strong and quick. If he had that previous year of development would have been putting up more numbers than he did this season and will the Stars see him develop that offensive potential? His ceiling is probably a third line player but I think he could surprise. As one scout put it 'He has a rare combination of size, speed and skill that not many other prospects possess.'

Henri Kiviaho G - Until the Stars drafted him 144th overall I, like I imagine most Stars fans, had never heard of him. In fact I still have found very little online about him. I expected the Stars to select a goaltender with a late round pick so it came as no surprise. The Stars need a goalie in the juniors just to have a goalie in the pipeline. He appears to have been underrated after posting a 2.78 GAA whilst playing in the Jr A. SM Liiga. He is also the second Finn to have been selected in the draft. He appears to have the size that is the centre of most analysis of goaltending being 6"3. I trust that Kiviaho will do well as the Stars have excellent scouting staff in the Nordic states. I don't really have anything to write as a scouting report but instead will quote the Stars press release on him.

Goaltender Henri Kiviaho was the Stars' second fifth-round pick at No. 144 overall after a standout season with Kalpa in the Finnish junior league. He posted a 2.78 goals-against-average and a .909 save percentage in 28 games in 2011-12, with two shutouts. He was named the SM-liiga's Young Player of the Month in November, 2012.

A native of Lappeenranta, Finland, Kiviaho has good size at 6-3, 183 pounds and has represented Finland in various under-16 and under-17 tournaments the last two seasons.

Dmitry Sinitsyn D- Dmitry Sinitsyn was a bit of a surprise to many Stars fans watching the draft. The Stars haven't drafted a Russian born player since Sergei Korostin in 2007. It was clear that the Stars were very interested with him when they traded up in the seventh round, something in itself reasonably unusual. So what made the Stars decide that Dmitry Sinitsyn was worth getting over 4 years of avoiding Russian players and to move up in the seventh round to pick him? Well it's quite a tale...

Dmitry Sinitsyn had played for the Dallas Stars U16 between 2009-2011 scoring in his first season 52 points (24 goals, 28 assists) in 57 games and in his second season 31 points (11 goals, 20 assists) in 37 games. He played for the them during his time at High School in Dallas. He was meant to play in the USHL fo the 2011-2012 season for the Green Bay Gamblers however he was caught up in a problem involving the Gamblers having too many imports in their team and an attempt to trade him to a team which could take him fell through after his student visa expired. He returned to Russia and played a few games in the Russian juniors before returning to America after being offered the opportunity to play for the RiverHawks of UMass-Lowell. He became the youngest ever player to be on a NCAA I roster but was eventually Redshirted. He is considered one of their top prospects for the future. To read more about his unusual story you can find more here and here.

Despite being a Russian Sinitsyn has clearly spent a lot of time in the USA and the Russian factor will probably be non existent. He appears to be an incredible intelligent and articulate person, especially considering he was taking lessons in college at the age of 17. Not only this he is also trilingual... Needless to say Dimtry Sinitsyn is definitely one Stars fans should keep an eye on as he progresses through the NCAA.

Overall I think the Stars have done a pretty good job this draft. I have a feeling that Stars fans could look back on this draft as the day the Stars managed to develop a strong pool of prospects. I might not have originally been 100% behind every pick but I think now that all the selections made are good choices. With the addition of 9 players in one draft they have nearly equaled the number of players drafted in the past two drafts. This will have gone a long way to help build a solid prospect base that will hopefully let us build through the draft to become a true Stanley Cup Contender. However it will take years to be able to properly analyse and see whether this draft was a success. For now though Stars fans should be happy that the future is filled with plenty of potential.