The Dallas Stars have had an eventful summer thus far. They traded longtime Star, Alex Goligoski for a draft pick, and signed Dan Hamhuis from the Vancouver Canucks, while Kris Russell and Jason Demers were not resigned. The Stars did have a decent draft, but none of them are considered to be immediate call-ups. Meaning there will be some immediate openings on the NHL roster for some of the more seasoned prospects. Any time a prospect can get paired with Jamie Benn, Tyler Seguin, Jason Spezza, or John Klingberg, points are sure to follow, regardless of skill level.
Esa Lindell – Lindell should make the NHL roster out of camp, but he could find himself in a top-paring role if there is an injury or he has an incredible camp. He played a huge role for the AHL Texas Stars last season establishing himself as one of their best young defensemen and a gifted point producer. Further along in his development than Julius Honka, and while Honka gets a lot of attention, Lindell is very good offensively too.
Julius Honka – Esa Lindell might get the first chance with the Stars, but Honka is the gem of the Stars prospects. Honka is a very gifted offensive defenseman and is a perfect fit for the Dallas Stars. Great on his skates and a natural playmaker. Lindell is a little older and further along in his development, and the Stars are not going to rush Honka to the NHL. Julius Honka will be the Texas Stars first defenseman in the AHL and see increased ice-time along with power-play minutes. Let’s keep our fingers crossed and hope Honka finds himself with Dallas early this season. One can only imagine what this gifted youngster would do with guys like Jamie Benn, Tyler Seguin, and John Klingberg.
Maxime Lagace – With the trade of Jack Campbell to the Kings, Lagace will likely be the starting goalie for the Texas Stars in the AHL. Over the last couple of years, few have made as big of a rise as Maxime Lagace, and now he is the favorite for a starting position for an AHL team. With strong play in net, he could be the first goaltender to be called on if the Stars are in need. Dallas is absolutely desperate for any consistency out of their goalie, so if he gets a chance and plays well, he just might be the starter on a very good team.
Jamie Oleksiak – This defenseman is a curious case of a prospect that flattened once being called to the Stars. Oleksiak has spent a lot of time with the NHL club, but has never made anything out of his time. Going into the 2016 season, Stephen Johns and Esa Lindell have both passed him, and it wouldn’t be surprising to see Julius Honka surpass him before the end of the upcoming season. Once viewed as a future top pairing shut-down defenseman for the Stars is seeing his windows close. Perhaps watching his sister, Penny Oleksiak, win a silver medal for Canada in the Olympics will inspire Jamie to push his game to the next level. Esa Lindell and Julius Honka aren’t going anywhere, Oleksiak is going to have to put himself in a position to earn a starting spot. With this much young talent, nothing will be given to Oleksiak.
Devin Shore – Shore was coming together as a prospect in the AHL last year, but suffered a shoulder injury that required season-ending surgery. The Stars are going to be cautious with him to begin the season, which will make his road to Dallas a little longer. This injury will push him behind a few of the other prospects, but he still has the ability to make the Stars roster at some point. Keep an eye on the condition of his shoulder.
Updated Top 10 Prospects:
- Esa Lindell – Expected to make the Dallas Stars roster out of camp, and may get rookie of the year votes.
- Julius Honka – An offensive blue-chip defenseman, who is figured to be a big part of the future for the Dallas Stars.
- Brett Ritchie – Very hard shot, and large frame will give him a starting role for the Dallas Stars in the upcoming season.
- Riley Tufte – Huge frame and handles his body extremely well in front of the net.
- Jamie Oleksiak – Has the potential of a physical, shut-down defenseman.
- Jason Dickinson – One of the better two-way players in the Dallas Stars system.
- Denis Gurianov – Young, but very skilled, he could be an offensive asset once he makes the North American transition.
- Maxime Lagace – Currently the top goaltender prospect for the Stars with a huge opportunity if he can capitalize.
- Niklas Hansson – Could be the second Julius Honka in the Stars farm system, very skilled defenseman.
- Devin Shore – Recovering from shoulder surgery, but was one of the team’s better scorer pre-injury in the AHL.
– Matt Kowalski
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