NHL Mock Draft 2016: Dallas Stars Select Vitalii Abramov With 25th Pick
The Stars pick up a smaller skilled forward known for his craftiness and ability to make plays in this mock draft.
The Dallas Stars prospect system has been replenished in the last few seasons. After a shotgun draft of defensemen and drafting players with high hockey IQ, the Stars have a cupboard that is deep but may lack one thing: a true gifted playmaker.
Plenty of Stars prospect forwards are described as good skaters with defensive responsibility, and some have been known to have offensive capability. But what the Stars may not have is a true high end playmaker in the system, and with the depth of prospects addressed, the Stars can look at the upcoming draft as a way to fill in some of the system's skill deficiencies.
That's why the Stars selected in the SBN Mock Draft a forward out of the QMJHL Vitalii Abramov.
Abramov is small (he's listed at 5' 9"). He's also Russian and plays for the Gatineau Olympiques in the QMJHL, which is considered by a lot of pundits to be the "softest" Canadian junior league. That feels like a three-strikes-and-you're-out scenario.
But the small forward has a lot of skill sets that the Stars will drool over. He's a good skater, tends to use his speed to get around defenders, and is as comfortable playing the puck in dangerous areas as he is anywhere else on the ice. Scouting reports note that he has strong puck handling skills, which means he's able to make good plays with the puck to push offense up ice. He does have a tendency to make high risk plays, but that's typical of many offensively-minded players.
It's a little bit off the grid and is a high risk-high reward type pick. But the Stars find themselves in the enviable position of being able to take that this season with their low first round draft pick. It also has the added bonus of filling out the Russian trifecta for the Stars, with former first round picks Valeri Nichushkin and Denis Gurianov drafted by the Stars in years past illustrating that general manager Jim Nill ain't afraid of no ghost*.
*And by ghost we mean the "Russian factor" that scares teams so much come draft time, obviously.