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Welcome Home 2019 Draftees

2019-07-08

BIG D, TEXAS- Four of the 2019 DCHL STARS newest prospects flew into Dallas Fort Worth Airport today. They were welcomed by none other than ALAMO JACK himself. Sporting his pair of six shooters, a Stetson, and spurs, he stood at the front of the DCHL DALLAS crowd present at the airport. The translator versed in Finnish, German, and good ol’ American was able to ask the question on everyone’s mind: “How did you get those through security?”

The story of the 2019 Draft was not smooth for the DALLAS leadership. Thanks to differences between the NHL Board and what would become the “DCHL Board that knew better” DALLAS was left with a gift which was perhaps, perceived by some as a consolation prize of sorts. After day one, some frustration remained but the quality of pickups carried the mood. Furthermore the STARS were curiously the only believer in NHL DETROIT GM STEVE YZERMAN who put their draft pick where their mouth was. Everyone wants to say “Steve Y knows his stuff,” but no one wanted to pick MORITZ SEIDER.

The STARS projected they would have only one top 10 NHL selection to choose from, instead they had two. And after careful consideration, the team chose the smarts of a GM who built the powerhouse in NHL TAMPA, over the organization that once took NAIL YAKUPOV with the 1st overall pick. This is not to say all things are sure, but the trust was certainly there and within 2 years, SEIDER and another YZERMAN pick, BRETT HOWDEN might be playing on the same DCHL roster because of a confluence of DCHL dismissiveness, competing team needs, and pick position. ALAMO JACK once said he was going to “return the franchise to its former glories.” This year he returned to the same approach which brought THOMAS CHABOT into the league a few years ago: build from the NET OUT!

Which makes the next picks all the more significant, the STARS were well aware they wouldn’t land a top 16 forward without passing on a high value defense prospect. As such, the organization decided to chase the most 2019 value by swapping 2020 picks for additional 2019 picks. Additionally, the STARS also knew defense was undervalued in the draft and moving to 19 overall also netted the team 51 overall (we’ll get to this later). The likelihood the STARS would go with double 1st round defense picks was essentially a certainty.

ALAMO JACK made clear to VILLE HEINOLA in his best Finnish, that the STARS believed in him. It was no secret the STARS were initially interested in THOMAS HARLEY, but the rash and mercurial nature of the CANADIENS organization caused the board to shift. When you have less than 180 seconds to make a non-target asset pick, you don’t have time to do research, you execute the plan. As it turns out VILLE HEINOLA was always part of the STARS options when they traded for 19 overall and if it were not for their belief in either prospect, the trade for 19 Overall never happens.

The blue line of the future? It is too soon to tell, but with LUCAS JOHANSEN, NICOLAS BEAUDIN, MORITZ SEIDER, VILLE HEINOLA, the STARS have 4 x 1st round Blue Liners in their pipeline, and an additional World Junior Cup prospect in JAKUB GALVAS. With JUUSE SAROS (Heir Apparent to PEKKA RINNE’S NET) locked up for the foreseeable future, the NET OUT solution appears addressed for the present.

However the second round took another weird turn that could only occur in a FANTASY world where “Life, uh, finds a way.” The STARS watched as pick after pick rolled in. There were several targets based on where the STARS only 2nd round pick were, several targets per position even. However as the FLORIDA PANTHERS were about to announce back to back selections, the STARS made a last ditch effort to land two of their targets instead of one. Sacrificing a 2 x 3rds (79 and 88) to move up to back to back picks (50 and 51) the STARS addressed another need and gained considerable value in the process.

Enter NICHOLAS ROBERTSON who “The ATHLETIC” scouts refer to as TORONTO’s 5th best prospect (and NHL Toronto’s first selection in the 2019 DRAFT). A true wing with a late birthday, the potential is there, but what was more amazing is that at least 3 and maybe 4 or more GMs were trying to trade up to grab him at 52.

However, this move was something which could only happen in FANTASY world, the PANTHERS GM traded back because he got caught in TRAFFIC. This is not to say ROBERTSON was even on his radar, because he wasn’t, but DALLAS couldn’t achieve both goals in the 2nd Round without an additional pick. And while JEAN’S traffic jam became DALLAS’ opportunity, the move ultimately exhausted the staff who no felt a ceremonial relief, dare I say a CATHARSIS. ROBERTSON is a DCHL STAR prospect and with a lot of hope, maybe the future linemate of JOE VELENO who was drafted in the DCHL at 13 overall in the 2018 Draft.

But this does not tell the story of DALLAS’ 51st selection which they received in the deal for 19 OA. DALLAS had JAMIESON REES in their sites from the start of the 2nd round, and while CENTER is not a position of NEED in the STARS system, old habits die hard. So JAMIESON REES became the 51st pick even though he was originally a 44 Overall Selection in the NHL Draft. He will replace BRETT HOWDEN in the DCHL STARS pipeline as he graduates to the depth chart. He also joins JOE VELENO and SANTERI VIRTANEN among others who both were World Junior players in 2019. The tradition of DALLAS drafting has proven two trends so far, identifying quality defensemen and centers, regardless of pick position.

While it will take some time for these assets mature, the STARS injected quality talent into a prospect pool from a division that is on the verge of being the most competitive division in the DCHL. While the night is full of STARS, there are no easy days, but as those STARS pepper the darkness with light, these prospects provide a path to a bright future in the years to come.

Next Up: Prospect Profiles and Draft Analysis (Post DCHL Draft)

This is the LONESTAR PUCK REPORTING.