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