Let’s talk about the Dallas Stars and their first-round picks. No, really. Put down the antacid tablets. (Well, maybe just one or two of them.)
Stars senior staff writer Mike Heika’s latest column takes on the combo platter of joy and pain that has defined the team’s history of high-round drafting:
The coaches know talent is a huge part of winning at the NHL level, so they want the best talent to perform, and the best talent typically comes from first-round picks. They also realize there is pressure within the organization to have these guys succeed....
So when the Stars saw Scott Glennie (8th overall in 2009) and Jack Campbell (11th overall in 2010) and Jamie Oleksiak (14th overall in 2011) slip through the organization while making nary a dent, you could see the disappointment.
And when Valeri Nichushkin (10th overall in 2013) and Julius Honka (14th overall in 2014) were healthy scratches in recent games, you could feel the tension of, Oh no, here we go again, from the fans.
But that first-round allure never quite goes away, and the Stars know where the greatest potential can be unlocked, Heika claims:
As much as Taylor Fedun, 30, and Joel Hanley, 27, could be players who find a niche at the NHL level, Honka’s potential is to be a long-term regular on the blueline. He just turned 23 and has both skill and a right-handed shot. So if he can move forward and start taking regular minutes, the belief is he can be a significant part of a defense that includes other 20-somethings in John Klingberg, Esa Lindell and Miro Heiskanen....
Likewise, Denis Gurianov and Nichushkin are talented players who have the potential to help the offense. For a team that’s still trying to find out what it is, they could be huge contributors for years to come.
Mike has more. [Dallas Stars]
Speaking of Gury, the disappointment in Denver couldn’t take the shine off his performance.
Denis Gurianov had some good chances with Benn and Seguin last game, and Monty is sticking with that top line tonight against the Flames. pic.twitter.com/9oh34VLNOV— Dallas Stars (@DallasStars) December 18, 2018
The Stars are finally back in the big hangar at American Airlines Center tonight against the Calgary Flames.
Around the League(s)
#Kill ’Em All
- The Nashville Predators overcame a lousy first period but couldn’t overcome the Ottawa Senators, falling 4-3 in OT. [On The Forecheck]
- And penalties doomed the Colorado Avalanche, who got stunned by the New York Islanders 4-1. [Mile High Hockey]
The Toronto Maple Leafs would prefer not to have a repeat of the William Nylander saga with Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner.
The Maple Leafs are actively working to sign forwards Auston Matthews and Mitchell Marner to new contracts in advance of July 1, 2019, when they can become restricted free agents https://t.co/c5iSnEDY8C— NHL.com (@NHLdotcom) December 17, 2018
The Sens’ Eugene Melnyk, who periodically makes a stretch run for the title of NHL’s Worst Owner, is making (bad) news again, this time over failed plans for a new hockey arena.
Ready for the 2019 World Juniors? Then read up, starting here.
World Junior Championship preview: Switzerland has depth, but they lack the game-breaking talent to be considered a true threat.— The Hockey News (@TheHockeyNews) December 18, 2018
Read now with All-Access: https://t.co/Tw4ekCg4V5 pic.twitter.com/ixlk7AFBd5
Greetings From Scenic Cedar Park
It's an 11:00 AM start for the #txstars and Chicago Wolves. Grab some coffee and get ready for the top 2 AHL offenses to clash! #TEXvsCHI— Texas Stars (@TexasStars) December 18, 2018
Oh, and it looks as if the eldritch horror called by the Earth name Gritty has nothing on the T-Stars’ own Ringo the Ringtail.
Congrats @GrittyNHL @txstarsringo and @slugger_seadog for receiving Honorable Mention in the Best of Mascot of 2018 Awards. For more for details see the Best of 2018 Awards on https://t.co/0Aljeqr3MP. https://t.co/xNaahnNKeD #mascot #Gameops pic.twitter.com/asJHHLwzQJ— Gameops.com (@gameopsdotcom) December 4, 2018
Jamie Benn tells Paul Bissonnette that his hit man was ineffective, and next time he should send two. Enjoy.