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Draft Preview: Dallas Stars – Fill up the toolbox

The Dallas Stars won’t get to the next level until they add another layer of depth.

The Stars have some reliable franchise pillars: Tyler Seguin, Jamie Benn and Alexander Radulov at forward, John Klingberg and Miro Heiskanen on defense, Ben Bishop in goal. But the talent drop-off after the core group is enormous. The Stars are top-heavy and need to do a better job with their first-round picks. They hit a homer with Heiskanen in 2017, but it’s otherwise been a smattering of singles, doubles and strikeouts.

IMMEDIATE NEEDS: The Stars need a legitimate second line so they don’t have to break up Seguin and Benn. Unlike similarly structured Colorado, Dallas is in win-now mode and can consider taking a run at big-ticket UFAs this summer, from Matt Duchene to Artemi Panarin. It’s all-in time for GM Jim Nill, who could also use a sturdy shutdown blueliner to take pressure off Heiskanen, Klingberg and Esa Lindell.

LONG-TERM NEEDS: Bishop is 32 and prone to injury, so the Stars need a successor in net. They may already have him in Jake Oettinger, but, as most scouts say, you need to draft several goalies to increase your odds that one will make it big at such an unpredictable position. The Stars obviously need to find another a star-caliber forward to diversify their offensive attack, too.

CAP SITUATION: Well-rounded defenseman Lindell has done enough to earn a long-term deal. He might double his $2.2-million AAV. But Nill will have money left to aggressively pursue a UFA or two now that Jason Spezza’s $7.5-million AAV disappears.

IN THE SYSTEM 2019-20: It’s time for big winger Denis Gurianov to sink or swim. He went 12th overall in 2015, and a dozen of the first-rounders picked after him have played more NHL games. He broke out in the AHL this season and needs an extended chance to establish himself. Don’t sleep on Jason Robertson, either. His skating needs work, but he won the OHL scoring title, and his two-way game would make him a coach’s pet right away.

DID YOU KNOW: Riley Tufte, the Stars’ 2016 first-rounder, was the leading goal-scorer for NCAA champion Minnesota-Duluth in 2017-18.

(2000-2018 drafts)
Jamie Benn, 129th, ’07
Mike Smith, 161st, ’01
Jussi Jokinen, 192nd, ’01
John Klingberg, 131st, ’10
Reilly Smith, 69th, ’09
Antti Miettinen, 224th, ’00
Esa Lindell, 74th, ’12
Colton Sceviour, 112th, ’07
Tom Wandell, 146th, ’05
Luke Gazdic, 172nd, ’07

100+ NHL GAMES: 14
NHL RANK: 12th


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