Dallas Stars Prospect: Cole Ully Faces Tough Transition From Go To Guy In The WHL To The AHL
Cole Ully's season is over and he'll likely be playing in the AHL next season. It's going to be a tough transition from being the go to guy in Kamloops to being another depth player with the Texas Stars.
Cole Ully has seen the highs and lows of the WHL during his time with the Kamloops Blazers. In his first two seasons in the WHL he was playing limited minutes on a team full of talent. His second season saw the Blazers go to WHL's Western Conference Final.
After that high came a low. The Blazers fell from the top of the WHL to the bottom as key players left to graduate to the pros. In the next two seasons the Blazers missed the playoffs both times.
Ully, after two WHL seasons, was thrust into the spotlight in the WHL. The past two seasons have seen him, mostly, singlehandly carry the Blazers on his back every night. When the Blazers needed someone to step up it would nearly always be Ully.
He led the Blazers in scoring this year with 94 points in 69 games, he led the next player on his team by 18 points. In the season before he led the Blazers with 72 points in 69 games, 27 points more than his nearest teammate. Ully had became a top player in the WHL, playing in all situations. Powerplay. Shorthanded. Ully would do everything and despite some problems defensively he's developed a good two way forward. Albeit one better known for his offense than defence.
He's grown bigger and stronger; listed at 5-foot-11, 180 pounds on the WHL website. His ability to get points in the most defensive of the three Canadian Major Junior leagues, while being identified as their top scoring threat, is a positive sign for the future.
With Ully signed to an entry level contract earlier this season he's expected to head to the Texas Stars, even if he doesn't play any games in the AHL. The step up from the major juniors to the AHL is a big one. It will be even tougher for Ully as he goes from a position where he was relied upon to be the offensive catalyst to one where he'll likely be one of the depth forwards.
He will likely start his AHL career on the bottom two lines and have limited minutes. A stark difference to his top line minutes he had in the WHL. It's a transition that most junior players who led their teams have to go through when they head to the professional leagues.
Like he did in Kamloops, Cole Ully will have to work his way up the lineup. It might take time for him to adjust to the professional game and lead offensively like he did in the WHL. With hard work and some luck he has a good chance of becoming an NHL player.
Ully is a type of player that the Dallas Stars don't really have many of in their prospect pool. He's a very offensively talented forward, more so than any of the other prospects the Dallas Stars have in the major juniors. Others like Jason Dickinson and Remi Elie are better known for their defensive prowess and neither have got close to points per game that Ully has achieved this past year.
Ully is only 20; there is time for him to adjust to the professional game and work up the lineup. In a few years it wouldn't be surprising to see him fighting for a spot in Dallas.