September 32-in-32: Dallas Stars

Aaron Itovitch

2022-09-10

 

 

Welcome to the September 2022 edition of the DobberProspects 32-in-32 Series. This month, we are diving into the depth of each organization, looking at their recent graduates, risers, fallers and top-20 prospects. 

 

It was the hope that at this point in the offseason the Dallas Stars would have signed both of their young RFA superstars. The organization that was built around Jamie Benn, Tyler Seguin and John Klingberg is now being built around a new young core.

While Jim Nill was able to take care of Jake Oettinger, with an impressive three-year, $12-million contract, Jason Robertson remains as an RFA. With big contracts being handed out recently to players that have proved less than Robertson (7x$7.14M for Tage Thompson, and 8x$8.35M for Tim Stutzle), the cap-strapped Stars appear less and less likely to lock up the 40-goal scorer long term.

While Dallas’ early picks from the 2017 draft (Heiskenan, Oettinger and Robertson) have all effectively graduated from the prospect level, none of the three have reached their full potential. Along with budding young center Roope Hintz, the future in Dallas seems bright.

Dallas’ bottom-six saw lots of faces this past season. The team is very front-heavy, giving opportunities for players like Marian Studenic and Jacob Peterson to secure roster spots. We saw Joel Kiviranta’s defensive ability grow, and Riley Tufte get his first taste of NHL play. However, with a new crop of exciting young prospects seemingly ready to jump to the NHL, these roster spots can’t be taken for granted.

While the Stars leaned towards high-upside forwards in 2021, selecting OHL MVP Wyatt Johnston 23rd, and WHL MVP Logan Stankoven 47th, in 2022 they stocked their weak defensive pool. Adding Lian Bichsel, Christian Kyrou and George Fegaras to a crop formerly led by Thomas Harley and Jack Bar is a big upgrade. 

In the NHL, Roope Hintz established himself as the team’s first line center – above Tyler Seguin. His line, completed by Robertson and veteran phenom Joe Pavelski was among the most dangerous in the league. Hintz finished with 37 goals and 35 assists for 72 points in 80 games. Robertson’s 41 goals and 38 assists in 74 games were good for him to lead his team in goals and come second in points.

Barely squeaking into a playoff spot, Jake Oettinger threw the team on his back for a hard-fought seven-game series against Calgary. This performance earned him his big contract, and equally makes him the first player to leave prospect-hood.

 

 

Graduating Players

Dallas has several players poised to make a league jump this year. With Dallas as incredibly cap-strapped as it is, it makes sense that they would take advantage of their NHL-ready players on ELCs.

 

Antonio Stranges

After a very successful season in the OHL with London this past season, Stranges, who played nine games in the AHL in the COVID-cancelled 2020-21 season, is bound to play the full season in the AHL and even possibly some NHL games. Stranges’ elite skating puts him above most other prospects in Dallas’ system, and he will be given every opportunity to succeed in an up-and-coming Dallas team.

 

Justin Ertel

While he may not necessarily be rising levels, Ertel will be leaving the NCAA this season to join the North Bay Battalion of the OHL. The NCAA wasn’t a great fit for the playmaker, and he will have the opportunity to join a playoff-bound Battalion team.

 

Ty Dellandrea

The 13th