Apr 7, 2012; Dallas, TX, USA; Dallas Stars defenseman Brenden Dillon (4) defends against St. Louis Blues right wing Chris Stewart (25) during the first period at the American Airlines Center. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-US PRESSWIRE
Under Joe Nieuwendyk, the Stars have begun to rebuild their minor-league system. Several intriguing players, including G Jack Campbell and D Brenden Dillon, could be in Dallas next season.
About the only good thing about having a season end without playoffs is that it coincides with the end of the season in the minors. The organization as a whole didn't do too well this season, but that just makes it that much easier to evaluate the prospect with no real distractions. This year marks the first time in three or four seasons that the Stars actually have some talent to get excited about coming through the system.
I'll be providing a season review of the Stars prospects here and give a short evaluation of what we can expect from them in the future. Any player that spent a minimal amount of time, less than five games, with the Dallas Stars (like Reilly Smith or Brenden Dillon) will also get looked at. I also left out the older players (28+) like Travis Morin and Francis Wathier as they can't really be considered prospects or young guys at this point.
2011-2012 Season - OHL, Windsor Spitfires: 12 GP, 6-3-2, 3.12 GAA, .906 SV%
2011-2012 Season - OHL, Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds: 34 GP, 15-12-5, 1 SO, 3.58 GAA, .892 SV%
2011-2012 Season - AHL, Texas Stars: 12 GP, 4-7-0, 1 SO, 3.02 GAA, .912 SV%
As you can probably see, Campbell had himself a busy year. Besides his minor league season, he was also the starter for the US Under-20 World Championship team. He started five games in that tournament and went 3-2-0 with a 2.62 GAA and a .907 SV% against the best youngsters in the world.
He started the season in Windsor before being traded to the Soo Greyhounds for two players and seven draft picks. The Greyhounds are a bad team and finished fifth worst in the Ontario Hockey League. They had a terrible defense that couldn't do Campbell any good and he was tested often. For what he had to deal with, Campbell came up with what I would consider pretty respectable numbers.
After his OHL season ended, Campbell was signed and was immediately thrust into the starter's role with the Texas Stars where he showed his brilliance.
2012-2013 outlook: He'll be the full-time starter for the Texas Stars next season and should really start to develop his game at the professional level. If Lehtonen or Bachman were to get injured, he might be able to get emergency call-ups to the Dallas Stars. If Dallas struggles again next season, Campbell could get some looks at the end of the year for evaluation.
2011-2012 Season - AHL, Texas Stars: 33 GP, 10-19-0, 1 SO, 3.39 GAA, .886 SV%
Amidst a team that has Kari Lehtonen, Richard Bachman and Jack Campbell, it's pretty easy to forget about Tyler Beskorowany. He was the starting goalie for a majority of the games for the Texas Stars this past season, but found himself in a bit of a struggle. He had the second worst goals-against-average among starters and was dead last in save percentage in his first full season at the AHL level.
He split time with Andrew Raycroft when he was sent to the minors and was relegated to the full-time backup role once Campbell arrived. He's got some talent and physical tools but it doesn't look like he'll ever get a chance to make an impact with the club.
2012-2013 outlook: He'll spend the year with the Texas Stars backing up Campbell and will only be an emergency call-up (deep emergency) for the Dallas Stars. He's a restricted free agent after next year.
2011-2012 Season - AHL, Texas Stars: 75 GP, 6 G, 20 A, 97 PIM
2011-2012 Season - NHL, Dallas Stars: 1 GP, 0 G, 0 A, 0 PIM
Dillon had a great season down in Texas. He plays sound physical defense and throws in some offense every now and then as well. He played in the last game of the Dallas Stars season with the team and showed great potential at the next level. He looked like a veteran defenseman out there.
2012-2013 outlook: With Reilly Smith, Dillon stands the best chance of making the Stars roster next season. He's already better than Adam Pardy and with the declining ability of other guys (i.e. Stephane Robidas) Dillon has a great chance to be a big part of the team next year. I want him on the team and working a second/third pair.
2011-2012 Season - OHL, Saginaw Spirit: 29 GP, 6 G, 4 A, 24 PIM
2011-2012 Season - OHL, Niagara IceDogs: 28 GP, 6 G, 15 A, 23 PIM
The gold chip in the Stars defensive group of youngsters that are making their way through the system, Oleksiak had a solid season playing with Saginaw and Niagara. The 6'7", 240 lb 19-year-old is the perfect blend of offense and defense for this team and will be a physical force for years to come.
He played solid defense for his clubs and once he was traded to a better team in Niagara, his offensive numbers jumped up as his teammates could actually score. Oleksiak is still playing as Niagara made the playoffs in the OHL.
2012-2013 outlook: It's been confirmed that Oleksiak will be playing with the Texas Stars next season along with Nemeth and Jack Campbell as their defense suddenly gets scary good. He'll just need to work on his positioning and mental game at the next level as the rest of his game is pretty much set. I fully expect him to be with Dallas within two years and he could get some looks at the end of next season if needed.
2011-2012 Season - Elitserien, AIK: 46 GP, 0 G, 3 A, 55 PIM
2011-2012 Season - World Junior Championships, Sweden: 16 GP, 1 G, 6 A, 24 PIM
Nemeth had a great season playing against the best of the Swedish league. He was a leader on the team and played a tough-nosed physical game with some big minutes. He was also huge for Sweden's gold medal winning Under-20 team at the World Junior Championships. He had a critical assist on their game winning goal in the championship game and he led all defensemen in assists. Dallas signed Nemeth at the end of the season and he'll play a big part for the Texas Stars next year.
2012-2013 outlook: The 20-year-old might the most talented players in the Stars system and he'll be a much watched player next year in Texas. With a year or two of seasoning, he should be ready to play for Dallas soon and could get a call-up or two next year if needed. Dallas needs to improve the defense and a guy like Nemeth is perfect.
2011-2012 Season - QMJHL, Victoriaville Tigres: 57 GP, 4 G, 20 A, 45 PIM
18-year-old Troy Vance had a good season for the Tigres. He's a huge dude and used his 6'5" frame to his advantage in the junior leagues to really put in some shutdown work. He was second among defensemen on the team in points and third in plus/minus. It's still way off for him before he reaches the pro level though, but his size and talent makes that a soon enough prospect.
2012-2013 outlook: He'll spend another year or two at the junior level and continue to improve his game. He's one of the most talented prospects Dallas has though and could be on the Texas Stars within three or four years. He just needs to keep growing his game.
2011-2012 Season - ECHL, Idaho Steelheads: 8 GP, 1 G, 4 A, 0 PIM
2011-2012 Season - AHL, Texas Stars: 32 GP, 2 G, 1 A, 18 PIM
Labrie fluctuated this season between the Steelheads and Stars and played his usual pure defensive game. He has Mark Fistric type mentality, though he's a bit smaller. He got burned a few times though at the AHL level and just needs to keep improving and getter better at the mental game. He returned to Idaho at the end of the year for their playoff run.
2012-2013 outlook: He just needs to stay with the Texas Stars next season and continue to get better. He'll have a better team around him next season and Jack Campbell in goal so he won't have to worry so much about making perfect plays. He just needs to play his game and stay solid. Another year or two of the same growth and Dallas is certainly a possibility. The Stars can always use a pure defensive player.
2011-2012 Season - WHL, Medicine Hat Tigers: 70 GP, 3 G, 13 A, 65 PIM
Theriau had a fine season with Medicine Hat. He played in just about every game and is a part of their playoff run. He had some trouble on defense and looked a bit lost and times, but that's expected of a youngster. The 20-year-old has a lot of room for improvement and more playing time will get that for him.
2012-2013 outlook: He'll spend next year back with Medicine Hat and work more on his game. After next year, he could be a target to make the Texas Stars if he does enough. He should be there anyway within the next three years though.
2011-2012 Season - NCAA, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute: 39 GP, 2 G, 8 A, 75 PIM
Berin ended his college career with a pretty good season. The physical defenseman was healthy and was the captain of his team. He got into trouble pretty often though as he had 75 PIM, most on his team.
2012-2013 outlook: Bergin is finished with college but is currently in limbo. Dallas has not signed him to a contract just yet. I would hope that the Stars sign him though because he's a big physical defender and Dallas always needs more of that in their system.
Listing all the teams that Klingberg played with last season would just take too long. He played for five different teams last season as well as the Swedish U-20 team for the world championships. He spent most of his time playing for two teams: Jokerit in the SM-Liiga league (20 GP, 1 G, 2 A, 8 PIM) and Skellefteå of the Elitserien (16 GP, 1 G, 3 A, 6 PIM).
It was mostly a lost season for him as he traveled all over the country of Finland playing for teams and barely getting time on the ice. He ended up back in Sweden at the end of the year and finally started to produce a bit again.
2012-2013 outlook: He needs to stay in Sweden and get some high quality games under belt. He's a fine offensive player but needs to really work on the other side of the ice. He's only 20-years-old so there's plenty of time for him to get better. It's still three to five years before he'll be able to make any kind of dent over here.
2011-2012 Season - SM- Liiga, Ilves: 52 GP, 9 G, 8 A, 18 PIM
2011-2012 Season - Finland2, LeKi: 3 GP, 1 G, 0 A, 0 PIM
2011-2012 Season - JR.A SM-Liiga, Ilves U20: 1 GP, 0 G, 1 A, 2 PIM
Big-bodied Jokipakka had a pretty good season playing in the Finnish league and was a leader on defense. His nine goals and 17 points were both career highs and good numbers for a defenseman that isn't really expected to do much on offense. He gets tough assignments and plays some of the most minutes on his team and handles them all well.
2012-2013 outlook: He'll be in Finland again next season. At the end of next season will be when Dallas has to make a decision on this guy. I believe he'll get a contract unless he just collapses next year.
2011-2012 Season - AHL, Texas Stars: 47 GP, 1 G, 3 A, 6 PIM
2011-2012 Season - ECHL, Idaho Steelheads: 13 GP, 0 G, 2 A, 10 PIM
In his first season playing directly in the Stars minor league system, Coyle had some troubles staying on the ice. He's a clear offensive defenseman but couldn't really get his offense working in the AHL or ECHL.
2012-2013 outlook: He'll start out in the ECHL again next season with the Steelheads and that's where I expect him to stay all season. Texas is getting good players coming in next season so they'll be fine without him. I doubt he'll ever get a look with Dallas.