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2016 NHL Entry Draft: Notable Dallas Stars Targets For 3rd Round

The worst kept secret about drafting and development in the NHL is that the most successful organizations regularly uncover talent outside of the 1st round.

The Dallas Stars have had plenty of success at this over the past decade, finding franchise-changing players like Jamie Benn and John Klingberg in the back half of their draft years. It’s something that the team will have to rely on doing again this season, as they only have two selections in the first three rounds.

Over the past month here at Defending Big D Huw Wales and I have been doing profiles on prospects that the Stars could target with their 25th overall selection (bypassing players like Auston Matthews and Patrik Laine that will certainly be picked long before then). As a change of pace, today I’m going to profile five prospects that Dallas could target with their 3rd round selection, which sits 90th overall.

Why these five players specifically? I wrote an article a few weeks ago about what the Stars need to add in their prospect pool, and the 3rd round is as good a place as any to try to address one of these needs.

To recap, some of those needs 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/

Important note: 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 are actually targeting for this pick.

While there’s no guarantee that any of these players will still be available at 90th overall, since the draft is always full of surprises, they’ve been chosen based on an accumulation of various draft rankings that suggest a high likelihood that they will still be around.

Let’s now take a look at some players that Stars fans should watch out for come draft weekend:

Sean Day: Defenseman – Mississauga Steelheads (OHL)

At first glance, Day seems like a slam-dunk pick: he has a great natural frame and is a shockingly smooth skater for a player of his size, a combination that teams covet in a defenseman. However, after being granted exceptional status to play in the OHL at 15 years old (joining John Tavares, Aaron Ekblad and Connor McDavid in the prestigious honor) Day’s stock has only fallen since due to his overall low level of fitness and a regular lack of effort on the ice.

Still, Day himself says that he is ramping up his commitment to off-ice conditioning, and he should be able to get more comfortable if he can get out of the spotlight a bit. Could be an absolute steal of a pick if everything eventually comes together in his development.

Tyler Parsons: Goaltender – London Knights (OHL)

Parsons might slide a bit in the draft because of the perception that he was more of a passenger on a dominant London Knights team, but make no mistake: he was an integral part of their Memorial Cup Championship. The Knights were an offense-oriented team and often left Parsons alone to clean the play in front of him, of which he did a fantastic job.

He fights hard for sight lines, has quick reflexes, and does a great job of tracking pucks when the play gets scrambly in the crease. Drafting goalies is always a challenge, but the Knights are the best program in Canadian junior hockey, so you know Parson’s development is in good hands until he’s ready for the professional leagues.

Dmitri Sokolov: Center – Sudbury Wolves (OHL)

Much like Day, Sokolov has the sheer natural talent to be a 1st round pick, but will likely tumble down the draft board due to issues with his conditioning and effort levels. He has an absolute laserbeam of a shot, one of the best out of all draft-eligible prospects, and has the knack to read the developing play and get himself into high-percentage areas to receive the puck. He led his team in goals (30) and points (52).

The Russian import played on an abysmal Wolves team this year, so how much does that play in to the issues that he showed? Is it harder to commit, both mentally and physically, when your team constantly loses? Sokolov is a long-term, high-risk project, but there’s a ton of reward here for any team that can get the absolute most out of him.

Simon Stransky: Left Wing – Prince Albert Raiders (WHL)

How about a little brotherly love? Simon is the younger brother of Stars prospect Matej Stranky. However, unlike his older brother, who plays more of a power forward style, Simon is a quick, skilled puck-mover. He handles the puck well at speed and is also comfortable slowing the play down to let his teammates get set up. Despite being a winger instead of a center, Stransky is still able to succeed as a playmaker in the offensive zone, controlling the puck from the wall.

He didn’t get to play alongside very much talent on a lackluster Raiders team, so he could have some impressive untapped potential as an offensive difference-maker on a line with other skilled players.

Tim Wahlgren: Center – MODO Hockey J20 (SuperElit)

Wahlgren is a little bit more unpolished compared to other top Swedish prospects in this year’s draft, but he still has enough impressive tools to make him a worthwhile project for a 3rd round pick.

He led his junior team in scoring this season, with 45 points in 39 games, and played well enough to earn himself 10 games up in the SHL, where he chipped in a couple of points. He finished his year with a nice showing at the IIHF U18s, scoring six goals in seven games, the most on his team. Wahlgren doesn’t excel in any particular areas, but has a nice package of skating, shooting, hands and vision.