I've been increasingly thinking about the 2015 NHL Draft with the NHL Central Scouting Services releasing their mid term rankings and the NHL Top Prospects games happening within the last few days. What do the Dallas Stars need to think about as they start putting together their rankings and focusing on who they are interested in.
Naturally the best approach to the draft is to choose the best player available (BPA) but sometimes its necessary to look at the big picture and go heavy on a particular area or skill set. Looking at the Dallas Stars prospect pool at Hockey's Future there is one particular issue which I think they are going to have to address.
At the moment there will be only one forward prospect left in the CHL at the end of the season. Jason Dickinson, Remi Elie and Cole Ully will all turn professional when their respective seasons end. Devin Shore is also likely to turn professional after three years of the NCAA.
In Europe, Emil Molin is having a year to forget. With only six points in over 40 games his future within the organisation is doubtful. His entry level contract finishes in 2016 and barring a very impressive season next year it is unlikely to be extended. Molin will probably be in North America next year, though probably with the Idaho Steelheads rather than the Texas Stars.
Matej Paulovic is also likely heading back to Europe to seek his third team in three years. He's got another two years before he has to be signed and that is unlikely to happen this summer.
This means that the Dallas Stars will likely have one forward prospect in the CHL and one in Europe. While this might not seem like a terrible thing, considering the numbers of forward prospects at the AHL level next year, it isn't good for the franchise in the long term.
Before the 2014 NHL Draft I had thought that the organisation was going to have a problem with its defensive pipeline. They took seven defenseman in the following draft. This year, with the current low numbers of forward prospects coming through the pipeline, I expect them to take a few forwards. If they don't then they'll start not having forwards graduating from the CHL or Europe into the AHL very quickly.
By having a new wave of prospects arriving in the AHL every year then you keep on having new options arriving in Austin and Dallas. New players, eager to make their mark, will drive up competition between players and make them all better in the long run.
If there are no new players arriving in the AHL then this will eventually rebound at the NHL level. Instead of newly arrived prospects, long term AHL players get signed to contracts with the Texas Stars. Instead of having their own prospects in the AHL to call upon the organisation will have to sign free agents to fill in their spaces.
Having a steady and constant supply of new prospects at the AHL and NHL levels each year is what helps organisations become competitors. It's necessary to build a true contender and to have the pieces necessary for those big trades.
Though the 2015 NHL Draft is months away, and things are still uncertain, it is almost certain that the Dallas Stars will have to draft multiple forwards.