MONTREAL, CANADA - SEPTEMBER 20: Matt Fraser #25 of the Dallas Stars celebrates his third period goal with teammates during the NHL pre-season game against the Montreal Canadiens at the Bell Centre on September 20, 2011 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. The Stars defeated the Canadiens 6-3. (Photo by Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images)
While there isn't much depth at the center position, the Stars minor league system could graduate two wingers into the NHL next season, with several more intriguing prospects behind them.
After taking a look at the Dallas Stars prospects at goalie and defensemen on Friday, I'll break down whose coming up the pipeline at the forward positions today:
2011-2012 Season - NCAA, Miami Redhawks: 39 GP, 30 G, 18 A, 22 PIM
2011-2012 Season - NHL, Dallas Stars: 3 GP, 0 G, 0 A, 2 PIM
Reilly Smith was one of the best players in collegiate hockey this past season. He was also up for the Hobey Baker award but didn't reach the finals. He led the Redhawks in goals, points, shots, +/-, power play goals and was third in assists. He was a dynamic forward and after his season was over, he was immediately signed to the Dallas Stars.
2012-2013 outlook: Smith has the best chance to be with the team next season. He went straight to the NHL this year and while he didn't get a lot of ice time, he's already being groomed to be on a line with Jamie Benn. I would be shocked if he's not with Dallas at the start of next season.
2011-2012 Season - AHL, Texas Stars: 73 GP, 37 G, 18 A, 45 PIM
2011-2012 Season - NHL, Dallas Stars: 1 GP, 0 G, 0 A, 0 PIM
Fraser was the leading goal scorer, second in points and all-around one of the best players on the Texas Stars in his rookie season with the club. His 37 goals were second most in the AHL and 11 of those goals were on the power play (top 15 in the AHL).
His high scoring totals are much needed considering how the Stars had trouble getting good production late in the season from anyone besides their top line and Jamie Benn. The 21-year-old got one game in with the Dallas Stars this season when injuries ravaged the team but, he got a very short look with only four minutes of ice time.
2012-2013 outlook: I think he gets a long look at training camp to see if he can make it with the Dallas Stars next season. If not, he'll be the number one scoring option on the Texas Stars next season and will surely get some call-ups if needed.
2011-2012 Season - NCAA, Boson University Terriers: 38 GP, 15 G, 31 A, 67 PIM
2011-2012 Season - AHL, Texas Stars: 8 GP, 1 G, 4 A, 9 PIM
Chiasson is one of the Stars best forward prospects, if not the best, and had a fantastic season. He was the leading scorer for the Terriers and their most effective power play guy (6 goals and 15 assists on the man-advantage) in a career year en route to a Hockey East Honorable Mention All-Star.
He was a 50% faceoff taker in college, which could come in handy once he makes the jump as Dallas really struggles in that area. He'll need to improve that part of his game though to make a difference. He's also someone that will clearly be on the power-play for this team.
He joined the Texas Stars after his college season ended and played in a handful of games. He'll be a huge part of the team next season.
2012-2013 outlook: He'll play with the Texas Stars for the entire year and could get a late season call-up. He should be a focal point of the offense for Texas.
2011-2012 Season - AHL, Texas Stars: 75 GP, 21 G, 32 A, 25 PIM
Sceviour had a good season with the Texas Stars. He was third in points on the team, second in assists and second in shots on goal. He improved his numbers across the board for the third year in a row and looks to be a solid contributor. He was a playmaker for the team, both as a scorer and passer.
2012-2013 outlook: Sceviour will get a good hard look from the Stars during training camp and would be a late line depth forward if he makes the team. I expect him to be back in Texas though to improve a little more. He'll be on the Dallas roster once the older players move on. He's a free agent in the offseason. I expect Dallas to sign him back.
2011-2012 Season - OHL, Sarnia Sting: 23 GP, 8 G, 7 A, 30 PIM
2011-2012 Season - OHL, Niagara IceDogs: 30 GP, 16 G, 14 A, 24 PIM
Ritchie was another of the Stars prospects that found himself switching teams midway through the season as he went from Sarnia to Niagara. The move from a middle of the pack team to one of the best teams in the Ontario Hockey League did wonders for him as his numbers improved across the board. He's still currently playing as the IceDogs are in the OHL playoffs.
2012-2013 outlook: He'll stick with the IceDogs next season and continue to improve. He's just 18-year-old (almost 19) and has a long growth ahead of him. He's one of the best prospects in the organization so I would expect him to be in Dallas soon enough.
2011-2012 Season - NCAA, Colgate: 39 GP, 36 G, 21 A, 30 PIM
2011-2012 Season - AHL, Texas Stars: 12 GP, 0 G, 3 A, 8 PIM
Austin Smith was the biggest surprise out of any prospect in the Stars system. He made a huge leap in his game and ended up as the focal point of Colgate's offense. He led the team in goals and points and was second in assists. He was one of three finalists for the Hobey Baker award, which is given to the college hockey MVP for the season. He didn't win but still had a spectacular season. After his college season ended, he was signed to a contract and shipped to the Texas Stars to begin his pro career.
2012-2013 outlook: Smith is going to be a big part of the Texas Stars next season. He might get a look during training camp, but I would expect him to spend most of the year at the AHL level. He could get a call-up now and then. He could be in Dallas within a year or two if it looks promising.
2011-2012 Season - AHL, Texas Stars: 70 GP, 12 G, 25 A, 25 PIM
2011-2012 Season - NHL, Dallas Stars: 1 GP, 0 G, 0 A, 2 PIM
Glennie has been one of the more disappointing prospects in the Stars system. He was touted as high scoring winger but he struggled to score with Texas and played passively. His game is still growing but he can really be invisible on the ice as he struggles to make an impact on the game.
He only managed 120 shots on goal this season when he should be getting near 200 with the talent that he has. He got in a game at the end of the year with Dallas and played 10 minutes without a shot on goal.
2012-2013 outlook: He'll spend next year with the Texas Stars where he can hopefully progress in his game. He needs to start trying to impose himself more on games because he might have the most offensive talent out of anyone in the Stars minor league system.
It doesn't look like he'll be able to make an impact on Dallas till the 2014-2015 season at the rate he's going. Dallas has a large investment in him so he needs to get better.
2011-2012 Season - WHL, Saskatoon Blades: 70 GP, 39 G, 42 A, 75 PIM
Stransky was the MVP of the Blades this season. He led the team in goals, assists, points and power play goals while working as a right winger. It was a huge jump in his game as he scored nearly 60 more points than he had last season while playing in one less game. He looks to have a promising future and I look for his skills to continue to improve.
2012-2013 outlook: The 18-year-old will most likely spend another season with the Blades. He's got enormous talent and I would look for him to make his way to the Texas Stars within two years.
2011-2012 Season - NCAA, Michigan Wolverines: 40 GP, 16 G, 17 A, 48 PIM
Aside from Austin Smith, no forward in the Stars system improved as much as Guptill did this past season. He tied for the lead in the major offensive categories (goals and points) with David Wohlberg and second in assists. He also led the team in power play goals with five. He was on the Central Collegiate Hockey Association All-Rookie team and was the rookie of the year.
2012-2013 outlook: He'll spend the foreseeable future in college improving his game and finishing up his degree at Michigan. If he continues to improve, he'll be the number one option on the Wolverines by his junior year. There are good things in store for Guptill.
2011-2012 Season - NCAA, Miami Redhawks: 40 GP, 5 G, 12 A, 60 PIM
McKenzie is a hard-working defensive winger that works on the penalty kill so he might have a future with this time far down the line. He needs to keep improving his game though at the college level and he could have a late line role on Dallas sometime in the future.
2012-2013 outlook: Next year will be his last at Miami so he needs to really show something. If he does enough next season, the Stars would probably hope to get him into the ECHL level with the Steelheads to continue his growth.
2011-2012 Season - KHL, Dinamo Minsk: 5 GP, 0 G, 0 A, 5 PIM
2011-2012 Season - Belarus, Gomel: 39 GP, 25 G, 20 A, 40 PIM
Stefanovich had a fine season with Gomel in his inaugural season in the Belarus league. He led his team in goals and had a good playoff run with six goals and an assist in eight games. He's got some good offensive pop and could make a difference in this team in the future.
2012-2013 outlook: He'll probably stick in Europe for the next couple of years before attempting to make it over to the Stars. He is a restricted free agent though, so Dallas might not re-sign him if they don't see a future for him here.
2011-2012 Season - ECHL, Idaho Steelheads: 63 GP, 7 G, 18 A, 36 PIM
Neal will always be most famously known as the younger brother of James Neal. By his standards, he had a great year this past season with career highs in assists and points.
2012-2013 outlook: He's a restricted free agent and if Dallas re-signs him, he's going to be either with the Steelheads or the Texas Stars next season. He'll work as a depth liner and is a career minor league guy so I wouldn't expect to see him make it with the Dallas Stars.
2011-2012 Season - AHL, Texas Stars: 76 GP, 11 G, 12 A, 102 PIM
The Stars tough guy did what he usually does each year, be physical. He led the team in PIM and was a bulldog on the ice. Gadzic had the unfortunate problem of being the Stars' worst player in the +/- category (he was -22 on the season, five worse than Travis Morin).
2012-2013 outlook: He's a restricted free agent this offseason. If Dallas re-signs him, he'll spend next season with the Texas Stars as a fourth liner and enforcer/tough guy. I don't think he has a future playing with the Dallas Stars but he'll be a career minor leaguer. I wouldn't expect him to get any call-ups unless his game really starts to change or he gets great defensively.
2011-2012 Season - CHL, Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees: 24 GP, 6 G, 10 A, 2 PIM
2011-2012 Season - AHL, Texas Stars: 19 GP, 0 G, 1 A, 8 PIM
2011-2012 Season - ECHL, Idaho Steelheads: 9 GP, 2 G, 1 A, 7 PIM
The Stars traded for Hauswirth during the season. He's a depth liner that's out there just to work for the puck, play some defense and kill penalties. He's currently at the ECHL level with the Idaho Steelheads and will try to work his way back to the AHL.
2012-2013 outlook: He'll continue to try to progress his game with the Steelheads next season and could make his way back to the Texas Stars if they need two-way forwards. It's doubtful that he'll ever see time with the Dallas Stars.
2011-2012 Season - VHL, Sokol Krasnoyarsk: 3 GP, 0 G, 1 A, 2 PIM
2011-2012 Season - VHL, Donbass Donetsk: 1 GP, 0 G, 0 A, 0 PIM
2011-2012 Season - Ukraine, Donbass Donetsk-2: 1 GP, 0 G, 0 A, 0 PIM
2011-2012 Season - VHL, HC VMF St. Petersburg: 24 GP, 2 G, 6 A, 10 PIM
I know nothing about Korostin other than that he gave it a try in the AHL a couple of years back and lasted one season. The third-round pick in 2007 is now languishing away in the second-tier Russian leagues and struggling to make an impact there. I don't think he'll ever make it back to the United States.
2012-2013 outlook: He'll be a journeyman in the Russian leagues and there's a less than 0% that he'll ever make it back into the Stars system let alone playing for Dallas.
2011-2012 Season - SuperElit, Brynäs J20: 29 GP, 15 G, 27 A, 45 PIM
2011-2012 Season - Elitserien, Brynäs: 34 GP, 1 G, 4 A, 0 PIM
The young Swedish winger (very young, just 19-years-old) has been playing in the top level of the Swedish league this season and was a member of the championship Brynäs team. He was a playmaker for their youth team but hasn't really had enough time on ice with the big club to make a huge difference, but he's there and he's learning. He'll progress as he grows older and learns more about the game.
2012-2013 outlook: Molin will spend the foreseeable future in Sweden continuing to develop his game. The Swedish is one of the best in the world so it'll be good for the young kid. He has some good offensive talent so I would hope that he can make the jump to the States within the next four or five years.
2011-2012 Season - AHL, San Antonio Rampage: 16 GP, 2G, 3 A, 8 PIM
2011-2012 Season - ECHL, Cincinnati Cyclones: 3 GP, 0 G, 1 A, 0 PIM
2011-2012 Season - AHL, Texas Stars: 38 GP, 5 G, 11 A, 19 PIM
The Stars traded prospect Ondrej Roman for Esposito in the middle of this season to try and bolster their center core. He's had some injury issues but has a world of talent and could be huge for the Stars if he can return to form. A good season next year and he'll be someone interesting to look at in 2013-2014.
2012-2013 outlook: He's a restricted free agent this offseason but I would expect the Stars to re-sign him since they just traded for him this season. He spend another season with the Texas Stars and hopefully he can stay healthy this time. He'll be more of a depth center next year.
2011-2012 Season - NCAA, Colorado College: 31 GP, 7 G, 17 A, 12 PIM
Winkler had himself a pretty good junior season by his standards. He's dealt with injuries throughout his career and this past season was no different. He worked past them though and had his best college year so far with 24 points.
2012-2013 outlook: His senior season will be critical for his future. He needs to be healthy and prove that he can play the game at a high level or Dallas might just let him go when he graduates. It'll all depend on his health and if that works out for him, he should be able to do enough to convince Dallas to give him a contract.
2011-2012 Season - ECHL, Idaho Steelheads: 4 GP, 1 G, 0 A, 2 PIM
2011-2012 Season - ECHL, Greenville Road Warriors: 1 GP, 0 G, 0 A, 0 PIM
2011-2012 Season - ECHL, Ontario Reign: 45 GP, 17 G, 24 A, 38 PIM
King put himself through a lot of travel in his move throughout the ECHL until he ended up with the Reign, the LA Kings minor league organization. He had an alright season with the Reign and just recently had his season ended in the playoffs by the Idaho Steelheads (how ironic). He had two assists in the five game series.
2012-2013 outlook: He's still really young and improving his game, but he seems like a career minor leaguer to me. He'll spend next season in the ECHL and will probably bounce between that and the AHL throughout his career.
2011-2012 Season - AHL, Texas Stars: 35 GP, 2 G, 5 A, 32 PIM
Tousignant missed time this season due to injuries and played only 35 games this season. Even so, he was having himself a down season compared to last year. He had 10 goals and 13 assists last season in 78 games but it didn't look he would be able to match those numbers this season. He's a tough minded, in-your-face forward who just had some bad luck this year.
2012-2013 outlook: Tousignant is late line depth forward who will be with the Texas Stars next season. I don't think he'll ever find time with Dallas with the guys that are coming through the system.
2011-2012 Season - NCAA, Minnesota Golden Gophers: 24 GP, 4 G, 0 A, 6 PIM
There's not too much to say about Sacchetti. He ended his collegiate career mostly as a benchwarmer so there wasn't a lot to go on. It's doubtful that he'll get into any professional hockey at this point.
2012-2013 outlook: Who knows what happens to him. Dallas didn't sign him to a contract coming out of college and it doesn't look like he'll have any team. His hockey career looks done.