Thanks for joining us for our August 31-in-31 series! Every day this month we will be taking a look at each team and diving into their prospect depth charts, risers and fallers, graduating prospects, and top 20 prospects in the system.
Dallas Stars August 31-in-31
After a strong playoff run, the Stars have been consistently looking to improve their roster through the draft. Although they only had four selections in this year’s draft, they selected some players who have the potential to make an impact on your fantasy roster.
For an in-depth look at the Stars July 1st moves, development camp recap, draft review, and make sure to read last month’s 31-in-31 article.
Now let’s take a look to see how the Stars prospects are developing in their respective leagues!
Following the conclusion of his four-year OHL career, Robertson will take his talents to the pro ranks. After winning the OHL scoring race, he will look to make an immediate impact on the Stars roster. In his final season in which he split between Niagara and Kingston; Robertson compiled 117 points in 62 games. When he got traded to Niagara, a much stronger team, his production went through the roof. Robertson also appeared for the United States at the World Juniors where he helped the team to a silver medal by registering seven points in seven games.
Robertson should adjust well to the pro ranks, but with that being said his biggest flaw is his skating which may hold him back. As he continues to adjust to the faster game, he needs to improve his skating before it limits his involvement. Robertson is an average skater with a lethal shot, he should be able to make up for any potential limitations. If Robertson can get into dangerous scoring position he should have no problem scoring.
Despite the best efforts of Jim Nill to add to their depth as noted in July’s 31-in-31, there is still some room for players to jump into the lineup such as Jason Robertson. It would not surprise me one bit to see Robertson in the Stars starting lineup in October. Although he could use a season to develop in the AHL there is a real chance the Stars may feel he can make the jump to the NHL. In years past they have not shied away from jumping players to the NHL perhaps prematurely. As a result, Robertson could be the next to do so which is something that should be very appealing to potential fantasy owners.
Tufte will also make the transition to the pro ranks following three seasons at the University of Minnesota-Duluth. During his time in Duluth, Tufte was extremely successful winning two National Championships in three seasons. Although his production dropped considerably in his final season, he still has an intriguing skill-set which should be appealing to potential fantasy owners. When looking at his past season, the first thing that appears is his lackluster stats as he posted 19 points in 42 games. Although those numbers were unimpressive, Duluth was an extremely deep team that consistently rolled four solid lines and sometimes Tufte got overlooked. That being said, he will certainly need to bring up his production in order to be an effective NHLer.
Tufte should start the season with Texas in the AHL in order to develop a bit more before making the jump to the NHL. He will get the opportunity to play with some skilled players which should improve his point totals. Tufte’s big body should be well suited in professional hockey and he still possesses his finishing ability around the net. Potential fantasy owners should watch his first season in Texas before making any decisions on him. That being said, Tufte will need to pick up the production in order to be an effective player in the near future.
Felhaber will be another OHLer in the Stars system that will make the jump to professional hockey. Felhaber was an extremely prolific scorer this season, registering 109 points in 68 games. His torrid pace continued into the playoffs where the 67’s had a deep run. In their 18-game playoff run, Felhaber registered 17 goals and 28 points. If he can continue to find his scoring touch in Texas, he will be a welcomed addition to the Stars. Felhaber will look to follow in the footsteps of fellow Stars prospect and former OHLer Adam Mascherin who had an excellent rookie season by accumulating 44 points in 75 games. Felhaber may be a few seasons away from seeing NHL action and you should keep an eye on him as if he can continue to find his scoring touch he will be a huge asset for the Stars.
L’Esperance may make the jump to the Stars next season in a bottom six role. After spending four seasons at Michigan Tech, and being undrafted, he can be seen as one of the best stories in recent years as his rise through the Stars system is extremely rapid. After playing 18 games with the Stars last year, in his first year of professional hockey, his rise has been torrid. He should push for a full-time spot on the Stars next season. L’Esperance will fit into the bottom six but could provide some offensive upside in the top six if needed.
There are numerous defensemen on the Stars that could make the jump next season. Although one of Ben Gleason and Dillon Heatherington could make the jump, Bayreuther is most likely of the trio. He was consistently one of Texas’ strongest defenders last season, and when playing for Dallas he was a confident and positive contributor. Bayreuther appears like he could make the jump, but the Stars blueline is very murky as it is filled with depth. If anyone from Texas is to make the jump, my bet would be on Bayreuther. He probably will not make a huge impact fantasy wise, but if he can be a solid bottom pairing defender for the Stars it may be worthwhile to watch his development and see what he can do.
Jason Robertson (2nd round, 39th overall in 2017)
After the season Robertson had there is little doubt he has shot up the board in terms of prospects in the Stars system. When he was drafted there were some concerns about his skating. Robertson quickly silenced these concerns by registering well over one point-per-game in both his D+1 and D+2 seasons. As he turns pro, he becomes one of, if not the best prospect in the Stars system. He stands a good chance to crack the opening day roster, at the minimum, I would expect him to suit up for the Stars at some point this season.
Roope Hintz (2nd Round, 49th overall in 2015)
Hintz was a huge piece for the Stars during their playoff run this past season. His speed is a massive asset for the Stars and after playing 58 games in the regular season, Hintz should be expected to make the team and play in an extremely prominent role. In just his second season in North America, he shattered all expectations and became a huge part of the Stars. He should be on your radar in fantasy leagues as he has the makings of a strong offensive contributor who will likely carve out a job in the Stars top six.
Riley Damiani (5th Round, 137th overall in 2018)
In his D+1 season, Damiani was excellent, registering 85 points in 58 games. His play was noticed by management as they rewarded him with an ELC. This summer Damiani was also selected to represent Canada at the World Junior Summer Showcase. He is unlikely to crack the roster at Christmas but remains in contention. His PNHLe projections also soared this season with a new score of 66.9 and puts him at the top in terms of Stars prospects with first line upside. In his D+1 season, he excelled and arguably moved up as far as anyone in the Stars system. Damiani is still a few seasons away but his progression up to this point has been very promising.
Adam Mascherin (4th Round, 100th overall in 2018)
Mascherin certainly lived up to the hype after he entered the draft for the second time. He was 14th in AHL rookie scoring this season and was a huge addition to the Texas Stars. After tearing up the OHL for the past two seasons Mascherin’s scoring continued into professional hockey. After his impressive rookie campaign, he seemingly moves up the ranks and will look to challenge for an NHL roster spot sooner rather than later.
Colton Point (5th Round, 128th overall in 2016)
In his final season with Colgate in the NCAA, Point had some of the best numbers in the league. With his GAA of 1.74 and save percentage at .944, he earned himself a spot on the Canadian World Junior roster. However, only one year removed from that stellar season, his first professional season was less than impressive. He only suited up in 7 games with Texas in which he boasted a poor GAA of 3.77. He spent most of the season in Idaho (ECHL) where he was average with a GAA of 3.28. It takes goalies longer to develop but with Jake Oettinger entering the professional ranks, Point could get pushed down. He will fight with Jake Oettinger and Landon Bow for the two spots in Texas. The Stars will be looking for a bounce back season from Point and if he can find his form from Colgate then he will be an intriguing prospect for the Stars.
Nicholas Caamano (5th Round, 146th overall in 2016)
The first professional season Caamano posted an adequate 24 points in 73 games for Texas. Although his point totals were reasonable, he did struggle with discipline at times accumulating 91 penalty minutes. With Tufte joining Texas on the left side this may push Caamano down. After the incredible rookie season posted by Adam Mascherin, Caamano will likely take minutes away from him. Furthermore, by drafting Nicholas Porco, the Stars are showing that they are filling the teams left wing ranks. As a result, Caamano could find himself falling down the depth chart if he does not improve as more players seize their opportunity.
Riley Tufte (1st Round, 25th overall in 2016)
Most people would admit that Tufte has not lived up to expectations following his first-round selection. His past season at Duluth was extremely unimpressive, only recording 19 points in 42 games. As he turns pro he will need to drastically bring up his production. The big bodied winger should have a smooth transition. That being said, he will need to find some more sources of production in order to be an effective NHLer. The jury is still out on Tufte but at this point, he does not seem to have a tremendous amount of upside. He will need to have a major bounce back season but at this time he is trending downward.
Prospect depth chart
For the depth chart, I counted any player who has not played one full season in the NHL as a prospect. Thus, making players such as Dickinson and Hintz eligible and players like Heiskanen ineligible.
Dallas Stars Top 20 Prospects
In order to qualify for the list below, the player must have played fewer than 25 games in the NHL. Players who have played more than 25 were deemed ineligible. The list was compiled to illustrate the Stars prospects who were deemed to have the greatest potential fantasy impact. NHL arrival and certainty were taken into consideration whilst constructing this list.