2016 NHL Entry Draft: Notable Dallas Stars Targets For Rounds 4-6

There are always quality prospects still left available in the later rounds of the draft. Here are a few that will be worth keeping an eye out for

Finding top prospects in the later rounds of the NHL Entry Draft isn't easy, but it is possible nevertheless. After all, it happens every year.

As Mike Heika discussed recently, each round of the draft is an important one.

Even after all the top prospects in any given draft are long gone, there is always talent left waiting to be plucked. The challenge is accurately determining which players have skills or attributes that will translate well to the NHL, or which flaws in their games can be eventually smoothed over with enough time and development.

As part of Defending Big D's coverage of the 2016 draft, the other day I wrote about specific prospects to watch out for when it's the Dallas Stars' turn to pick in the 3rd round. Today I'm going to take the next step and cover rounds 4-6, all at once. For comparison's sake, here is a similar article that I did here on DBD for last year's draft.

For the back end of the draft the Stars have one selection in the 4th round, two in the 5th (thanks to the recent Alex Goligoski trade), and one in the 6th. They do not, however, have their own 7th (Shawn Horcoff trade).

As a refresher, some of the most prominent needs for the team's current prospect pool are:

  • an elite playmaking forward
  • small, high-scoring forwards that might get overlooked due to their size
  • at least one goalie in the mid-to-late rounds
  • high-risk, high-reward development projects/

Disclaimer: once again, these views are entirely my own, developed through personal scouting, research, and analysis of the team's current prospect pool. I have no first-hand or insider knowledge of which players the Stars have actually chosen for their draft lists.

All twelve of the following players could go pretty much anywhere in the draft, but I've used rankings from NHL Central Scouting and Future Considerations to help gauge the specific round where each player is likely to go.

So, all that being said, which players could be great fits for the Stars in the later rounds? Let's take a look.

4th Round (116th Overall)

C Jonathan Ang - Ranked 95th by NHL Central Scouting (NA), 116th by Future Considerations

Ang is small and light, but an excellent skater that can sometimes make dazzling moves at full speed. He's risen in the rankings a bit lately after a solid OHL playoffs (nine points in seven games, most on his team) and a surprisingly impressive showing at the NHL combine. Should get tons of ice time next season for the Peterborough Petes. He would fit right in with Dallas' speedy style of hockey.

D David Bernhardt - Ranked 39th by NHL Central Scouting (EU), 101st by Future Considerations

Bernhardt is a big, skilled, two-way defenseman that might fly under the radar a bit this draft because he's a 1997 birthday and spent the entire season in Sweden's top U20 league. He was his team's most productive blueliner in terms of offense by a good margin. Playing a similar style to Stars prospect Esa Lindell, he has a good set of tools that could make him a special player if given the right development.

LW Ondrej Najman - Ranked 30th by NHL Central Scouting (EU), 143rd by Future Considerations

Najman is a true Jack-Of-All-Trades type of player, a guy that can do a little bit of everything for his club. Can play both center and wing, as well as on the powerplay and the penalty kill. Scouts like his smart, responsible defensive game, but he was also the top scorer for both his regular season junior team and the Czech national team at the IIHF U18s, so maybe there's some greater offensive talent that's hidden away.

C Otto Somppi - Ranked 78th by NHL Central Scouting (NA), 105th by Future Considerations

A Finnish center that skates in the QMJHL, Somppi is a steady contributor at both ends of the ice, but also has some untapped potential as a play-maker, which the Stars could benefit from adding. Has already been a member of a few important Finnish teams at international tournaments, so he likely has an inside track to continue to play in more of them in the future, a nice development boost for any prospect.

5th Round (128th Overall and 146th Overall)

LW Travis Barron - Ranked 94th by NHL Central Scouting (NA), 147th by Future Considerations

Barron came into this OHL season with a fair bit of hype, and while he did show some flashes, he ultimately had a hard time living up to it on a consistent basis. He doesn't play particularly physical, but has other tools to deploy an effective power forward style of hockey: a heavy shot, a nose for the net, and the ability to use his big frame to shield the puck. Definitely a project, but there's a lot here to work with.

G Mikhail Berdin - Ranked 5th by NHL Central Scouting (EU Goalies), 127th by Future Considerations

A goalie recently profiled in a separate article by Huw Wales, Berdin has that ideal combination of physical traits that teams love in a netminder: a big frame and quick reflexes. Was selected to play on the first iteration of the new Russian U18 national team, a club that plays in Russia's top junior league, which is a pretty good sign about his potential. A bit of an unknown, but many scouting reports on him have been positive.

C Adam Brooks - Ranked 72nd by NHL Central Scouting (NA), 148th by Future Considerations

One of the more notable returnees to the NHL draft, Brooks was a scoring machine this season for the Regina Pats, finishing with a WHL-best 120 points. He's not very big and his skating could use some work, but he has quick hands and sees the ice incredibly well, a combination that allows him to smoothly control the puck and constantly feed passes into high-percentage areas for his teammates.

G Connor Ingram - Ranked 8th by NHL Central Scouting (NA Goalies), NR by Future Considerations

Another prospect that was completely passed over last draft, Ingram was one of the most steady, consistent goaltenders in Canadian junior hockey this season, carrying an otherwise average Kamloops Blazers team. Has incredible composure and an impressive ability to read the play unfolding in front of him. Will be an excellent goalie project to take on if he's still available in the 5th round.

6th Round (176th Overall)

RW Reid Gardiner - Ranked 173rd by NHL Central Scouting (NA), NR by Future Considerations

What Gardiner brings as a hockey player is impossible to measure by just the numbers on his stat line or in his listed height and weight. He was the heart and soul of his Prince Albert Raiders team this season, a guy that was used in all situations by his coach and was a leader on and off the ice. Faced some adversity but grew admirably from it. The type of depth character player that all teams are better off having.

C Alan Lyszczarczyk - Ranked 134th by NHL Central Scouting (NA), 201st by Future Considerations

One of the best ways to find a hidden gem in the later rounds of the draft is to look for players that succeeded despite being on terrible teams, and Lyszczarczyk certainly fits that bill. The Sudbury Wolves struggled horribly this season, but he still managed to produce 50 points in 67 games thanks to his great skating and soft hands. Still has a long way to go, but he shows glimpses of some very high upside.

C Kristian Reichel - Ranked 119th by NHL Central Scouting (EU), 198th by Future Considerations

The son of former NHLer Robert Reichel, Kristian is a raw offensive forward that put up some impressive goal totals in his junior league before getting called up to the Czech Extraliga, where he chipped in a few more points in 15 games against men. Also had a couple of respectable showings in international tournaments for the Czech Republic. High-risk, high-reward, but his bloodlines make him intriguing.

D Ondrej Vala - Ranked 102nd by NHL Central Scouting (NA), 189th by Future Considerations

Vala is a huge, physically imposing defensive-defenseman, but one that still has decent enough of a skating ability to not be a liability in today's faster game of hockey. He can also make accurate, strong passes to clear the zone and start the play up ice, although his potential to be an offensive contributor is low. Vala would be a smart choice to replace the former defensive prospects that the Stars didn't sign this spring.