Dallas entered the draft will only 4 draft picks leaving little room for Jim Nill to be aggressive and try to make some moves to pick up additional talent for the team.
Patience and executing the plan with the limited ammunition the Stars had in their pocket was the theme for Dallas in this draft. Dallas used 3 of their 4 picks on defensemen, all left-handed defensemen at that. The identity of the Dallas Stars starts with their defense. While Miro, Klingberg, and Lindell are sure things for the defensive lineup, leaving 2 spots certainly up for grabs. Stephen Johns’s status remains up in the air, Roman Polak is another year older, and Taylor Fedun’s performance in the playoffs left much to be desired, unfortunately. Jamie Oleksiak most likely will be a part of the teams future, but who he will be paired with and how he fits will be important in ensuring that to be true.
Dallas’s draft history has been spotty and is rightly criticized by media and fans alike. However, Jim Nill and the Stars have certainly had some recent success in defensemen, Lindell, Klingberg, and Miro being the obvious examples. Given the depth in the AHL the Stars currently have, adding to that and potentially giving you more ammunition for trades, makes sense. The organization likely has a feel of who some of these players are and will feel that they can use them as trade pieces to help make the NHL roster better.
Given the number of defensemen, especially left-handed ones, the Stars currently sport on their AHL roster, it would seem Jim Nill has a plan in the works in order to free up roster spots. Thomas Harley and Samuel Sjolund both are praised for their ability to move the puck and are capable of making plays to generate some offense. The identity of the Stars begins with the defensemen being able to move the puck and make plays, these two will certainly fit in perfectly in Dallas.
Understandably, fans will be frustrated with the news during the draft that Zuccarello will test the free agent waters to determine if he does wish to make his future in Dallas. Scoring was a major issue for the Stars and it was arguably the reason they didn’t make it further in the playoffs then the Second Round. The Stars did not really do anything in the way of adding forward depth to help address that issue. It is a fair criticism until you look at the 2018 draft where Dallas selected 7 forwards out of a possible 8 picks.
The scoring depth that the team and fans are seeking have already been selected and are currently making their way through the system and some will certainly have their chance to make the NHL roster this upcoming season, especially with the departure of Jason Spezza. After going forward heavy the previous year, it makes sense for the Stars to balance that out by going defensive with this draft, especially since they targeted these players.
Dallas knew heading into this draft they did not have any leverage or ammunition to be aggressive and go get their guy. They were forced to be patient and hope they could execute their plan. It is always more fun for fans when their team can be active and make trades because it feels like progress, while for fans of teams that hold firm and are less active, it feels stagnant and frustrating. Dallas got to have its fun with their trades for Zuccarello and Oleksiak during the season, so the draft was never going to be exciting for Stars fans, unfortunately.
Patience is often times the key and it will take time to judge whether this draft was a success or a failure. Right now though, it looks like a good draft for Dallas given the difficult circumstances they put themselves in heading into it.
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