General Manager Jim Nill possessed only six picks in the draft, and used four of them on forwards. No surprise, the Stars strategy was to get larger at forward. The forwards they drafted certainly fit the “power forward” mold, particularly their first round pick, Riley Tufte. With only six picks, and an NHL roster that is well stocked, none of the draft picks will serve an immediate role in Dallas. The forwards drafted are longer termed projects, particularly Karlstrom. The top six forwards are well established in Dallas, meaning Jim Nill will take it slow with this draft class. Conversely, the Stars are loaded with defenseman prospects. The departure of Alex Goligoski and Jason Demers provides openings for some of those young blue-liners to step into a role. With the solid crop of young defensemen, the Stars only drafted the one rearguard in the sixth round. Clearly the goal of the draft from the Stars perspective was to get bigger and find forwards that can play a supporting role on the third of fourth line. Their AHL team traded long time goalie prospect Jack Campbell, leaving a vacancy. Newly drafted Colton Point is destined to fill that role in a couple of years.
Riley Tufte, 25th overall
Tufte’s large size is the first thing that stands out about his game, but he’s also great with hands. Perhaps his most impressive asset is his ability in front of the net. He uses his body extremely well, and has the craftiness to find rebounds with his long reach to slide it past goaltender. Skilled all around and playmaker, he even saw some time on the point during the power plan in high school. Minnesota’s “Mr. Hockey” will attend University of Minnesota Duluth in the fall, and begin his development. It will be fun to watch how he is responds in a competitive college hockey conference, where he can’t simply outmuscle or oversize all his opponents.
Frederik Karlstrom, 90th overall
Some scouts thought this was a reach at 90th overall. It’s hard to predict at this point due to his limited experience at a higher level of play. The Stars do like their share of Swedes and their style of play, so there is no surprise they took a chance on Karlstrom. Frederik uses his big body well, and isn’t afraid to get in his opponents face. He likely fits best in a third line role and provide depth, but this seems to be one of the longer projects for the Stars. He’ll be back in Sweden next year to develop more of a scoring touch.
Rhett Gardner, 116th overall Gardner is another power forward that seems to fit best in a supporting role in a bottom six function. Fantastic in the face-off circle, and plays with energy, he was a big part of the playoff success for the University North Dakota last year on their way to a national championship. He provides some great depth as a versatile player that can fulfill many different functions. Gardner may not turn into a dominant goal scorer, but blocked shots and face-offs may be his specialty in the NHL.
Colton Point, 128th overall
Like most of the successful goalies now dominating the NHL, Colton Point is a larger goaltender, that uses his big body to take away angles. He will be attending Colgate University in the Fall, where he will be afforded plenty of time to work out the details of his game. Mechanically, he has some work to do, but still very young. Point has a promising future if he follows the correct path, just don’t expect him to take the crease for the Dallas Stars anytime soon.
Nicholas Caammano, 146th overall
Like Karlstrom and Gardner, Caammano is a larger forward that hasn’t showed to be a gifted scorer. He does push the tempo of the game with speed, something that the Stars love to do. Caammano’s purpose projects to be a defensive forward that can help with some of the Stars defensive shortcomings. Another forward that looks like he is destined for a third of fourth line role. With so many young super-skilled forwards already on the Stars roster, these are the grinders that the Stars are cultivating to support the superstars in a few years.
Jakob Stenqvist, 176th overall
Stenqvist came as a surprise to many, but it shouldn’t. The Stars love taking Swedish hockey players, and they’ve been fairly successful at it. Stenqvist will be their newest project at defenseman. As a good skater, he would potentially fit well with the Stars aggressive offensive tempo. His offensive production in Sweden has been limited, but the Stars find a way to turn players into scorers once in their organization. He’ll continue in Sweden next year, and hopefully puts on some weight to his 6-2 frame.