The 2011 NHL Draft gets underway on Friday night in St. Paul, Minnesota, just over a week after the Boston Bruins were named 2010-11 Stanley Cup Champions - similar to the NBA's quick turnaround between their championship series and their draft. The Dallas Stars, who failed to make the playoffs this past year, will be selecting in the middle of the first round, holding the 14th overall pick.
Brad Gardner over at Defending Big D, SB Nation's Dallas Stars blog, has a preview of what he thinks the Stars will do in the draft.
Last year there was an emphasis on drafting defense that came from the fan base as much as anywhere else, but the Stars themselves admitted it when Tim Bernhardt (director of amateur scouting) said they would lean toward defense whenever players on their board were close, as so many are in the later rounds. The result was a defense heavy draft that re-stocked the cupboard a little, so to speak.
There is no clear-cut need this year and the Stars are free to take the best player available on their board, which of course everyone says they'd do regardless...
"Things always change in our game," said Nieuwendyk. "The game is always evolving. If you take the best players available it leaves you with the best opportunity to move forward."
"If you draft on need, I think you are looking for trouble."
Dallas had hoped to get an extra pick for the rights to negotiate with Brad Richards, reportedly asking him yesterday to move his "NTC" (no trade/movement clause) and he declined. His agent made it known that he will not for any team, preferring instead to listen to all comers on July 1st.
The possibility of getting an additional pick lives on in the scenario of trading down out of #14, something the Stars are considering should the interest be there tonight. Nieuwendyk told the DMN earlier this week that it's something they're certainly talking about.
For more on the Stars and their needs, check out the full version of Gardner's preview at Defending Big D.
Televised coverage of the draft begins at 7 p.m. ET, 6 CT, on Versus and TSN.