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 the prospect depth charts, graduating prospects, risers and fallers, and top ten prospects in the system
Welcome to Dallas Stars’ 31 in 31 for August presented to by someone who is not normally the Stars writer but is great at fantasy hockey and knows most of the Starts prospects (Also I am super modest)
Valeri Nichushkin – The prodigal son has returned to Dallas after a two year self-exile stint in the KHL, which was rather underwhelming when looking it over. He all but has a top-six spot locked up as well, unless he loses it by underperforming in training camp, but looking over the Stars roster besides Radulov only Brett Ritchie is a threat to his roster position. Looking towards the season it is unknown if he can grab some 1PP time as one would assume Dallas would try Spezza there again, and if that does not click perhaps a couple “net front” players first, so expect low-40 points and hope for more.
Miro Heiskanen – The prized jewel of the Stars system is ready to jump in to the NHL right away. He will likely be eased in to top-four ice-time but by the end of the season he should be a fixture of the top four. For some reason the Stars signed Roman Polak for this season, even though they have a slightly better but far more injured version in Mark Methot, there should be no one in Heiskanen’s way as he learns the NHL game and pace.
Julius Honka – A player who last season coach, Ken Hitchcock, would not let play consistent minutes finally has a chance to show what he can do at the NHL level. It has been a long four years of development for the Finn. Honka will have to compete to stay in the lineup as the Stars do have seven capable NHL defensemen according to most (sorry but Polak stinks) so he may see the occasional healthy scratch, but thankfully with how often Polak and Methot get hurt Honka should still play over 55 games in the NHL.
NOTE: You cannot expect Heiskanen or Honka to get 1PP time with Klingberg being amazing, so do not expect a lot of points but both players may get lucky and be able to play on the second powerplay.
The Stars have 15 players signed to one-way contracts (well 14.33 as how often does Martin Hanzel actually play) and with 12 mostly showing they can play in the NHL these next three are on the cusp of NHL play but would also likely get snagged off waivers.
Gemel Smith – Smith is more of an NHL energy grinding type of player, but showed that he could play in the NHL last season in limited Hitchcockian minutes. Smith seems like a Tom Wilson/Zach Hyman type, as in a player who has minimal skill but gets to the hard areas, fore-checks like crazy, and makes room for skilled players when playing in a top six/nine role, but can also play in a bottom-line role as well. Expect minimal points, minimal penalty minutes, but lots of hits.
Remi Elie – Elie has skills but has seen them all but vanish at the pro level. In last season’s 72 NHL games he registed only 14 points, but how much of that was him not having skills versus Hitchcock giving him zero time to develop. It is highly-likely he will never reach 50+ points but there is not reason why he cannot become a middle-six winger than can chip in offense while playing a solid two-way game.
Jason Dickinson – After his first season in the AHL posting 53 points in 73 games, Dickinson has bounced between the AHL and NHL. His AHL points per game in that time has never beaten his first season but has stayed above 0.5 consistently. With the Stars pretty weak on left wing Dickinson could see himself make the top-six, but with the glut of forwards if Dickinson has a bad training camp he could be in the press box for a majority of the season. Out of the three players Dickinson has the most skill and is better suited for an offensive role. With Hitchcock out of the way it is up to the new head coach, Jim Montgomery, to use Dickinson right and give him some minutes and opportunity.
Miro Heiskanen – All Heiskanen did last season was rocket his way up to being the best NHL prospect defenseman. until some Swede was drafted first overall in 2018. He was named the Liiga’s top defenseman at just 18, had 23 points in 30 regular season games and followed that up with nine pints in 14 playoffs games. He has the size, skill and skating to play in the NHL. Rumour has it the Stars will not give him up in a trade for Erik Karlsson, which is how insanely high they are on him. If you are in a keeper league… take Karlsson
Jake Oettinger – Oettinger’s numbers slightly dipped last season, as Boston University was weaker than previous seasons. He also fell pretty flat in his two World Junior games, but the USA team underwhelmed with the talent they presented. Why is he a riser then you ask, well the Stars did not really have any other prospects than Heiskanen improve large enough, but Oettinger still held a very respectable 0.915 save percentage and did not collapse. There is still a good future for the former first round pick.
Colton Point – The other goaltending prospect of value in the Stars system has a fantastic 2017-2018 for Colgate University in the NCAA. After being healthy for the season he posted a 0.944 save percentage and a 1.74 goals against average in 33 games. He will now move on to the AHL where the real test begins. After the Stars had some of the worst goaltending depth in the NHL they now have two good prospects that look like they can be legit starting goalies (at this point).
Roope Hintz – The Finn had a great first season in orth America putting up 35 points in 70 games, and managed to get in to all the post season games for the Texas Stars (unlike someone below) posting 12 points. Hintz is a smart playmaking centre/winger who can score if needed. More seasoning is needed but he could easily find himself eventually in a top-six NHL role.
Denis Gurianov – Guryanov has developed very slow and almost seems to be stuck spinning his tires in the AHL. His numbers, and healthy scratches, last season were misleading as the Texas Stars were a veteran heavy team that used the older players to come one game away from winning the Calder Cup. Unfortunately putting an emphasis on veterans meant Guryanov saw limited ice time when he was not in the press box. He should be given lots of ice time for Texas in 2018-2019 as the Stars want him to become an NHLer. There is still skill there and this upcoming season will really show where he is at.
Adam Mascherin – How can a player re-drafted be a faller? Well he was drafted in the second round in 2016 and subsequently when being re-drafted in 2018 was drafted in round four. His numbers scream top six talent but the skating and ability to battle in his game scream AHL player. The Stars took a gamble so we will all see how it pans out.
Top 10 Prospects
- Miro Heiskanen
- Jake Oettinger
- Valeri Nichushkin
- Ty Dellandrea
- Jason Robertson
- Colton Point
- Julius Honka
- Roope Hintz
- Denis Guryanov
- Albin Eriksson
- Adam Mascherin (Just missed out)
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