The Dallas Stars were looking good going into the draft without any noticeable need. However, it was necessary to start building up their prospect pool after having five picks last year and just four the year prior. The last time they had this number of picks was in the 2004 draft.
With the future of the franchise looking to be well-balanced thanks to previous drafts, the Stars could afford to be versatile and think outside the box with their choices. In addition, they hosted the IIHF Under-18 World Championships in April and May, so they were able to get a close-up view on a few players with eligibility for the draft. Though it’s too soon to know how the picks will pan out, fans can be assured the Stars made some excellent choices.
Wyatt Johnston, C, Windsor Spitfires-OHL (round 1, Pick 23)
Logan Stankoven, C, Kamloops Blazers- WHL (Round 2, Pick 47)
Artem Grushnikov, D, CSKA 2-Russia (Round 2, Pick 48)
Ayrton Martino, LW, Omaha Lancers-USHL (Round 3, Pick 73)
Justin Ertel, LW, Summerside Western Capitals-MHL (Round 3, Pick 79)
Conner Roulette, LW, Seattle Thunderbirds-WHL (Round 4, Pick 111)
Jack Bar, D, Chicago Steel-USHL (Round 5, Pick 138)
Jacob Holmes, D, Soo Greyhounds-OHL (Round 5, Pick 143)
Francesco Arcuri, C, Kingston Frontenacs-OHL (Round 6, PIck 175)
Albert Sjoberg, RW, Sodertalje SK Jr.-Swe Jr (Round 7, Pick 207)
The Stars were looking good going into the draft with eight picks. Originally they had seven, but received a pick for trading forward Jason Dickinson to the Vancouver Canucks. A surprise trade for the 15th pick with the Detroit Wings gave them the 23rd overall pick and the 48th and 138th overall picks.
They were able to go with a variety of players for a total of seven forwards and three defensemen. Unfortunately, no goalies were chosen by the Stars this year. The Stars appears to be focused on getting Johnston and Stankoven, and those choices made the future of the franchise look a little rosier. Roulette may be considered a steal since he was ranked as the 36th-ranked skater in North America by NHL Central Scouting.
Best Pick: Logan Stankoven
It may have been surprising to a few scouts and websites that Stankoven wasn’t taken earlier than he was. Some had considered him to be a first-round pick. If that’s the case, then the Stars certainly got a steal when they took him in the second round. He’s a gifted goal scorer with a north-south game, and in the 2020-21 season, he scored seven goals and had three assists in six games. The season before that, he had accrued 29 goals and 19 assists. At the recent U18 tournament, he had four goals and four assists in seven games.
Worst Pick: Francesco Arcuri
Arcuri is not a bad player. He will require a lot of work in order to make it to the NHL level. However, that can be said of any draft pick. He has a decent shot, thinks ahead of the puck, but will need to learn how to use his size and strength in the midst of battle. Nevertheless, he’s shown that he can hold his own in his 18 games with the Steel Wings Linz, a part of the Alps Hockey League (AlpsHL). He continues to improve each year, and that’s what makes him valuable to a team like the Stars.
Sleeper Pick: Wyatt Johnston
Some might think that the Stars went off the board with picking Johnston. When the OHL shuttered for the 2020-21 season due to the pandemic, the only time he played was in the IIHF U18 tournament earlier this year. Johnston was able to pick up four points in seven games. Since Dallas decided to take him in Round 1, it was clear that they liked what they saw. He’s considered a good skater and possesses a high hockey IQ. He will have to work to catch up on his development due to not having a season. During the U18 tournament, he showed Dallas that he didn’t look like he had taken any time off despite having not played.
The Stars came away from this year’s draft with 10 players that have the opportunity to make it to the next level. The pandemic forced them to rely on their scouting, trust in their assessments, and be satisfied with the results. They were able to make a great trade and still grab players like Johnston and Stankoven. Overall the Stars did well, and fans should look forward to seeing these players on the ice.
Follow Liz Pendergraft on Twitter @lizzibear824
Main Image Credit:
Embed from Getty Images