With the 123rd overall pick in the 2020 NHL Entry Draft the Dallas Stars select winger Antonio Stranges from the OHL’s London Knights.
Simply put, this is a great pick for the Stars. When the team selected Mavrik Bourque 30th overall on Tuesday night it helped fill some holes in their prospect pool — namely, puck skill, playmaking and offensive vision. And by taking Stranges here, they continue to add in this area.
At this time last year there was serious talk about whether Stranges could go in the first round in 2020. His puck skills are absolutely dazzling, and his 10-2 skating style is unique, mesmerizing, and difficult to predict. He can dart around the ice, making quick moves to open up space and create scoring chances. His shot isn’t overly powerful, but it’s quick and accurate when he gets close proximity to the opposing net.
However, things went a little sideways for Stranges in 2019-20. The point totals didn’t really come for him. His weak defensive game got exposed. And despite his skill with the puck, turnovers came far too frequently. He was bumped down the depth chart on his team due to these issues. Which is why he fell so far, and was available to the Dallas Stars at 123rd.
He finished 94th on my final board and was ranked as high as 48th by Future Considerations.
Now, the good news here is that no organization in junior hockey that develops NHL talent better than the Knights do. If any OHL program can help Stranges build upon his strengths while also ironing out his weaknesses, it’s the Knights. The Stars will, of course, have their development staff work with him as well while he still plays in the OHL.
Overall, this is precisely the type of pick that the Stars needed to make. Like Bourque, Stranges could be a fantastic fit in the future alongside players like Denis Gurianov, Roope Hintz, Jason Robertson and Ty Dellandrea.