With the 162nd overall pick in the 2020 NHL Entry Draft the Dallas Stars selected winger Yevgeni Oksentyuk from the OHL’s Flint Firebirds.
Like with the Mavrik Bourque and Antonio Stranges picks, the Stars looked past concerns about Oksentyuk’s size and gambled on offensive skill. But the feisty Belarusian is more than just a skilled player. His competitiveness and work ethic are both excellent, and there are some real pest elements to his game. He just goes out there every shift and puts in the work. Even though his stature is tiny, at roughly 5-foot-8, he’s strong and thick, which makes him hard to knock off the puck and allows him to fight for pucks in the dirty areas.
After going undrafted last year, he made the jump across the ocean to join the Flint Firebirds for the 2019-20 season, where he played with Stars first-rounder Ty Dellandrea. Safe to say, the Stars organization knows him well. He was a major difference-maker for Flint, putting up 78 points in 58 games thanks primarily to his work ethic, hockey sense and puck-handling abilities. He’s also a core player and leader internationally for the Belarusian national program.
Oksentyuk is a very, very easy player to like and cheer for, as Flint fans discovered last season. Stars fans are probably going to love him too.