Part 5 in my "State of the Franchise" series.
Feel free to leave comments; I'm always willing to take feedback and I readily accept that I'm not the next Charles Dickens, so any constructive criticism would be great.
Current Rankings List:
30. San Jose
#26: Dallas Stars
Top Fws: Loui Eriksson, Jamie Benn, Michael Ryder
Top Ds: Alex Goligoski, Stephane Robidas
Top G: Kari Lehtonen
Top 3 Under-23s:
1. F Jamie Benn (23)
2. D Philip Larsen (22)
3. F Tomas Vincour (21)
Top 5 Prospects
1. D Jamie Oleksiak (19)
2. G Jack Campbell (20)
3. F Alex Chiasson (21)
4. F Radek Faksa (18)
5. F Scott Glennie (21)
Prospect Pool Rating:
Bluechip Talent: C
There is no shortage of scoring wingers at the pro level. Jamie Benn looks to continue his ascension towards elite forward status, Loui Eriksson already is one and there is depth behind them with Brendan Morrow, Michael Ryder, and newly acquired veterans Jaromir Jagr and Ray Whitney all more than capable of providing top 6 offense. Kari Lehtonen is a decent number 1 goalie and he's got talent pushing him in the pro ranks with Richard Bachman and Tyler Beskorowany.
After the departures of Steve Ott and Mike Ribeiro, the Stars lack size and skill up the middle with Derek Roy being the only true top 6 center (and an undersized one at that). The defense is thin behind the top 3 of Goligoski, Robidas and Trevor Daley, with a likely combination of youngsters and veterans filling out the last 4 spots. In general, the team lacks grit and snarl up and down their lineup.
The Stars have a prospect of note at every position, so there is good variability there, but the biggest strength is up front. The enigmatic Scott Glennie headlines a solid group of wingers such as Reilly Smith and Brett Ritchie who look to have NHL potential. The team has also built a solid group of defensive prospects, with Oleksiak, Patrik Nemeth, and Ludvig Bystrom chief among them.
While they have plenty of prospects at varied positions and possessing different qualities, none of them are true "bluechip" diamond-in-the-rough talents. Jack Campbell, the one player who might have been, has been on and off through his career to this point. While the forwards in general are deep, the center and left wing positions are mostly populated by minor leaguers.
The Stars are in the midst of a massive overhaul. Long gone are the days of aging megastars like Mike Modano and Sergei Zubov; now the team's foundation has been laid upon names like Eriksson and Benn. That isn't to say that the team lacks veteran savvy; newly signed forwards Whitney and Jagr offer as much of that as any other pair in the NHL today and the team still retains key veterans such as Brendan Morrow and Stephane Robidas.
Dallas, which has missed the postseason each of the past four seasons, has had to deal with the hiring of a new GM in Joe Nieuwendyk and an unstable ownership situation. With both issues having time to sink in, the Stars have chosen to go the route of a rebuild, signing veteran free agents to remain competitive while using their draft picks wisely. The team has 2 solid starting pieces and a few more that look like they can be and have chosen to rebuild their team around those pieces.
The team, while maybe not playoff caliber, will likely still contend for a spot next season and will likely remain competitive throughout the rebuild process.