In his press conference a week ago, Glen Gulutzan preached about the importance of defense and two-way forwards. The Dallas Stars gave Gulutzan the prospects he wanted in the 2011 NHL draft by taking three defensemen, two multi-dimensional wingers and one center. Here's a quick look at who the Stars drafted this year.
Round 1 Pick 14
Jamieson Oleksiak - Defenseman
Birth date: Dec. 21, 1992 (Currently 18 years old)
Birth place: Toronto, Ontario
Height/Weight: 6'7", 244 lbs
Since the departure of Derian Hatcher, the Stars have really lacked that big physical presence on defense. Dallas will be no longer be missing that now they have the tallest, heaviest prospect from the 2011 NHL Draft.
He's said that he models his game after Zdeno Chara (quite understandable there) and if he can be anything like him, the Stars will be more than thrilled at how this pick turned out. Aside from his obvious advantages from his size, Oleksiak is a very good skater and moves the puck around very well. Whenever he makes it to the NHL, he can surely become a shutdown defender and will make up a good core with the other defensemen that the Stars have in their system.
He spent his last year playing at Northeastern University, where he had 13 points (4 goals, 9 assists) and led his team with a plus-13 rating in 38 games. He's still just 18-years-old so one would think he still has some growing to do. He certainly has the physical tools to play for the Stars next year, but will probably spend another year or two getting seasoning in college or in the Ontario Hockey League. one of the teams there, the Saginaw Spirits hold his rights and it might provide better competition for Oleksiak.
Round 2 Pick 44
Brett Ritchie - Right Winger
Birth date: July 1, 1993 (Currently 17 years old)
Birth place: Orangeville, Ontario
Height/Weight: 6'3", 210 lbs
Dallas takes another kid with good size here, this time a winger. He's a strong, hardworking player that is willing to crash the boards. Toughness is what this team needs and Dallas certainly got some more from this kid. Again, Dallas was looking for two-way players to go alnog with talent and Ritchie filled the bill for them.
He has spent the past two seasons playing in the Ontario Hockey League for the Sarnia Sting. In 114 games with them, he has 70 points (34 goals and 36 assists). He's a net crasher, something the Stars certainly could always use. Don't expect to see him playing on the big club for another three years.
Round 4 Pick 105
Emil Molin - Center
Birth date: March 2, 1993 (Currently 18 years old)
Birth place: Sweden
Height/Weight: 6'0", 170 lbs
Not a whole lot of information on Molin that I can find, but it seems that the kid can definately score points. A look at his page on Eliteprospects shows that he was basically a point/two points per-game player so he is certainly skilled. His penalty minutes took a big leap in his last couple of years of playing so he's starting to put in the work defensively. It will be a while before he makes it over to the Stars organization however and he'll need to put some more weight on.
He's played his entire career so far in the Swedish league.
Round 5 Pick 135
Troy Vance - Defenseman
Birth date: Aug. 2, 1993 (Currently 17 years old)
Birth place: Goshen, New York
Height/Weight: 6'5", 203 lbs
Dallas takes another young, giant defenseman in this pick with Vance. He's also a good skater and an absolute beast on the defensive side. a big-hitter is what Dallas needs and Vance can definitely bring the lumber when he skates. Many hockey experts consider him to be one of the big sleepers in this draft. Given his age and measurables, they see room for an enormous amount of growth in this game.
He doesn't put up a lot of offensive numbers, but that's not what he's around to do.
There was a short profile on him at Hockeyspy, where it is interesting to note that he was given advice from one of the Stars' scouts, Alex LePore, to move up to the QMJHL. It seems that the Stars have had their eye on this kid for awhile so it's only natural that they would pick him.
He spent last year playing with the Victoriaville Tigers of the QMJHL.
Vance has a few videos of his hitting floating around youtube: Here's one of his biggest hits. Vance delivering a big hit then getting into a fight (Vance is in the black/yellow jersey). He looks a bit reckless out there but that can certainly be refined with some coaching.
Dallas has had a lot of success in recent years with their fifth round picks and it looks like they found another solid pick here. Recent fifth rounders: Tom Wandell, Jamie Benn, Philip Larsen, Tomas Vincour and John Klingberg. All but Klingberg have seen time with the Dallas Stars and they all have very bright futures. Let's hope we can add Vance to that list.
Round 6 Pick 165
Matej Stransky - Right Winger
Birth date: July 11, 1993 (Currently 17 years old)
Birth place: Ostrava, Czech Republic
Height/Weight: 6'2", 196 lbs
Dallas puts another wing prospect into their system with Matej Stransky, who spent the past season with the Saskatoon Blades of the Western Hockey League. He had 26 points (14 goals, 12 assists) in his first season with the Blades this past season. He has some pretty good size on him and is a tough player. From now on, it all depends on how well he progresses in the WHL.
One video out there of a fight that Stransky had. He's in the blue/black jersey.
Round 7 Pick 195
Jyrki Jokipakka - Defensemen
Birth date: Aug. 20, 1991 (Currently 19 years old)
Birth place: Tampere, Finland
Height/Weight: 6'3", 192 lbs
If nothing else, Jokipakka will have the most interesting name for the Stars in this year's draft. He's spent his entire career so far playing in Finland playing for Ilves. He's much in the same mold as the previous defensive picks for the Stars in this draft. He's a big guy that skates pretty well and can lay a pretty good hit on oppoenents.