The Dallas Stars have had a lot of success drafting players out of Europe, the most recent of which is John Klingberg.
In the future it looks like there could be more even more successes coming from Europe. Esa Lindell was, officially, the best defenseman in the Finnish Liiga. Ludwig Bystrom is expected to come over full time to the AHL this season as well.
Who else could be on the horizon and can make debuts in victory green, either in Austin or in Dallas, in the coming years?
There is one specific prospect that I am very interested to see how they develop in the next year or two in Europe, specifically Sweden, who I think could become an NHL regular.
Niklas Hansson is a prospect that Dallas Stars fans might have heard some buzz about. He is very much a defenseman in the mold of John Klingberg.
An agile, offensive minded defenseman he took up a leadership role with Rogle in the Allsvenska (the Swedish second division) and had a career year.
Despite having a career year it was a very up and down year for the young defenseman. He finished with 21 points in 47 games for Rogle and helped lead them to promotion to the SHL (the Swedish top division).
His play suffered following his exclusion from the World Junior roster and for several games he was benched after poor play.
Despite periods of poor play he still managed to have a career year. I'm very interested to see what he can do with an entire year of consistent performance.
While he did regain his game and get more ice time near the end of the season he has decided to take a different path for next season.
Hansson has join HV71, signing a two year contract earlier this summer. With HV71 in the SHL he'll be playing in the top flight in Sweden and will be hoping to continue his upward trajectory.
If there were one European defensive prospect I'd say to follow closely over the next year or two it would be Hansson.
Hansson could be making his AHL debut by the end of the 2015-16 season. Could he develop into something special, or at least a NHL regular? The potential is there; it is just a matter of putting it together.