Here is a look at Dallas’ organizational needs and possible draft targets:
The Stars were one of the big lottery winners, and given that there are three prospects that have separated themselves from the rest. If the club doesn’t trade the pick, they simply have to sit back and gladly let one of them fall into their laps. Nico Hischier and Nolan Patrick are expected to be gone, and if that’s the case a team that could use a top-two defence prospect would be all set with Miro Heiskanen, one of the best all-around defence prospects in recent drafts. Heiskanen has the poise, smarts, mobility and skill to jump into a top-four NHL roles within a couple of years.
Regardless, Dallas is getting a gem prospect at third overall. If it is Patrick, he would be the perfect long-term replacement for Jason Spezza, and one that brings a lot of similar attributes with his puck possession, stickhandling, vision and playmaking skills who would be a great complement to Tyler Seguin in 3-5 years. Until that time a one-two-three punch of Patrick/Spezza Seguin would be among the league’s best.
If Ottawa and other teams in the top 28 pass on Jake Oettinger the Stars are likely to pounce on the highly-regarded Boston University netminder with the 29th overall pick as there is a definite requirement for a long-term starting goalie in the system, and Oettinger is a safe bet to play in the NHL given that he’s already proven himself at the college level at such a young age.
If the Stars grab Hieskanen with their top selection and Oettinger is gone, forward will be the likely target with the 29th selection unless they deal the pick for an established NHL netminder, which seems more likely than having the third overall pick in play to upgrade in nets. Forwards who may be available at 29 that would interest Dallas might include Kailer Yamamoto, Klim Kostin, Filip Chytil, Isaac Ratcliffe, Joni Ikonen and Jesper Boqvist.
Yamamoto and Kostin, in particular, may be intriguing for a club with three picks in the top 40. Each brings obvious risk as first-round picks, but if they pan out could be vital top-six pieces down the road. Kostin seems like the less likely pick though because Dallas has already taken two big, talented Russians with high picks that aren’t playing on the team. Valeri Nichushkin went back to Russia after playing in Dallas, and scouts worry that the same might happen with Kostin in the future after the first sign of dissension.
Yamamoto is coveted by NHL scouts, but his size may deter teams from selecting him in the first round unless a team has more than one pick…making Dallas a good bet to consider him at 29 if he’s there. He would be insulated by some decent size in the top six and bring some more skill to the Dallas powerplay.
If Dallas grabs a forward at third overall there is a good chance it looks at available defencemen at 29 as long as there is one at the top of their list. Nic Hague will be tough to pass on at 29 if he’s there given his size/offensive upside…Pierre-Olivier Joseph would also be considered, and perhaps even Henri Jokiharju if Hague and the other top defencemen are already gone.
Don’t be surprised if Dallas goes defence at both three and 29, however, especially if the top forwards on their draft board are only wingers, and that’s a possibility as there may be a gap between centers taken in the top 25 and in the 35 range. With Tufte, Denis Gurianov and Nichushkin all waiting in the wings, wing is not a particular team need, so Dallas may look to load up on defence with both first-round picks.
At 39th overall Michael DiPietro and Keith Petruzzelli are very likely targets if Oettinger is gone and either is available. Both have the upside to be NHL starters, especially in Dallas, and they are the consensus second- and third-ranked goalies on most lists. If they are gone or the Stars take Oettinger earlier some possibilities at 39 may include Jokiharju, Jaret Anderson-Dolan, Kole Lind, and Shane Bowers as all would bring good value at 39.
At 70th overall and beyond Dallas will focus on their list and go with the clear BPA as there are holes to fill at every position. in the farm system.