The first round of each year’s NHL entry draft is always the most important for teams, but the decisions that each club makes in the following six rounds can also play an enormous role in separating the league’s top contenders from its struggling basement dwellers.
Simply put, the more impact players you find outside of the first round, the better off your organization is as a whole.
That task is going to be quite challenging for the Dallas Stars in this year’s draft, as the team is currently limited to having just four draft picks in total (in the first, fourth, fifth and sixth rounds).
However, that being said, that number of draft picks is not set in stone. There are ways that the Stars could still add to their collection, including, as I wrote about recently, by trading down from their highest pick, which is currently 18th overall in the first round.
In the off chance that the Stars do add a pick in the second round of this year’s draft, I’ve taken the time to write up a quick list of six different prospects who could be good fits for the organization in the middle — roughly speaking — of that round.
Why were these six particular players chosen for this spotlight? As I outlined a few weeks ago in my Dallas Stars draft preview, the organization would be well off to specifically target the following areas:
- Any clear-cut best player available
- Finesse forwards
- Right-shot defensemen
For a better idea of which prospects the Stars already have in their system, feel free to check out the most recent edition of Defending Big D’s Prospect Rankings, from back in February.
Important note: These views are entirely my own. They have been developed through personal scouting, research, and analysis of the team’s prospect pool. I have no firsthand or insider knowledge about which players the Stars are actually targeting in this range.
While there’s no guarantee that any of these upcoming players will still be available if the Stars do add a second-round pick, they have ultimately been chosen based on an accumulation of various rankings and recent league-wide draft trends that suggest a high likelihood that they will still be around. It should also be mentioned that high-ranked players who unexpectedly slide down the draft board should be heavily considered in this spot as well, but we won’t know who they are (if anyone) until the picks start going through.
Let’s dig in.
Maxim Cajkovic — Right Wing — Saint John Sea Dogs (QMJHL)
Don’t let Cajkovic’s QMJHL scoring totals fool you: this kid has a big offensive upside. He racked up points everywhere he’s played, including internationally for his native Slovakia, before joining an awful Sea Dogs club. He possesses quick acceleration, sharp offensive awareness, a deft touch on the puck and an accurate wrist shot, which makes him a well-rounded offensive threat.
Billy Constantinou — Defense — Kingston Frontenacs (OHL)
Talk about a tale of two seasons. Constantinou was riding high early as a member of the Niagara IceDogs, one of the OHL’s top teams, but his play cratered following a trade to the Kingston Frontenacs, one of the OHL’s worst. How he handled the trade is a red flag, but few defenders can carry the puck as well as he can. He will get to play a ton of minutes the next two seasons.
Excellent goal from Billy Constantinou. pic.twitter.com/8Nbh7s72fB— raptors fan since birth (@DraftLook) February 17, 2019
Samuel Fagemo — Right Wing — Frolunda (SHL)
Getting passed over at the draft can really light a fire under some prospects, and that’s exactly what happened with Fagemo. After getting snubbed last year, he exploded in 2018-19, scoring 14 goals in the SHL regular season and then six more in the playoffs en route to a league title. A slippery shoot-first winger who still needs to improve his play in the other two zones.
Big Facts Time— Rink Rat Report (@RinkRatReport) June 5, 2019
Dominik Bokk (18/19)
GP: 47 G: 8 A: 15 PTS: 23
Drafted: RD 1 #25 overall
Samuel Fagemo (18/19)
GP: 42 G: 14 A: 11 PTS: 25
Fagemo highlights now up on the YouTube channelhttps://t.co/qqUlaflPig#2019NHLDraft pic.twitter.com/BtyY09D4c9
Robert Mastrosimone — Left Wing — Chicago Steel (USHL)
One of the 2019 draft’s best-kept secrets, Mastrosimone is a big-game player in a small package. From the Hlinka Gretzky Cup to the World Junior A Challenge to the USHL/NHL Top Prospects Game, he brought his “A” game consistently all season. He’s only 5-foot-10 and isn’t an elite skater, but his hockey sense, competitiveness and shooting ability are all high-end.
Ilya Nikolayev — Center — Loko Yaroslavl (MHL)
Nikolayev is going to draw a lot of interest because he’s one of the few natural centers in this range, but he’s still an interesting prospect on his own merit. He’s a versatile, well-rounded pivot who can make a difference in all three zones. He looked incredibly dangerous offensively at the World Junior A Challenge in December. Can he consistently be that player going forward?
Antti Tuomisto — Defense — Assat U20 (Jr. A SM-liiga)
A towering right-shot defenseman with good mobility, Tuomisto is a raw prospect with a lot of long-term potential. He had the opportunity to log a lot of ice time this past season in Finland’s top junior league and took huge strides in his game, most notably on offense. He has the physical tools to be a safe pick, but with the right development could become much, much more.