Stars' best case scenario becomes reality in 1st round of draft
CHICAGO -- You can’t “win” a draft on Day 1.In fact you can’t be a so-called winner in the draft until three of four years after the fact, when the teenagers drafted this weekend start to turn into NHL players. But the Dallas Stars certainly laid a foundation for a winning platform on Friday at the United Center.
With the No. 3 pick the Stars selected left-handed defenseman Miro Heiskanen. The Finnish defender was the top-ranked player on the Stars draft board and the undisputed top defender in this draft.
Later Dallas made a shrewd trade to move up from No. 29 to No. 26 and select Jake Oettinger, the best goalie in this draft class and secure an heir apparent to Ben Bishop. Bishop’s contract is six-years in length. When it expires Oettinger will be 24 and ready to enter the prime years of his career.
Patience will be required with both players, but Oettinger and Heiskanen are both on the right track for development.
Heiskanen will play another season in the Finnish Elite league as a teenager, and he was referred to as a “poor man’s Nick Lidstrom” by Stars director of scouting Joe McDonnell. Considering Lidstrom was recently inducted to the Hall of Fame, that's very high praise. Oettinger has at least one year of college remaining, and he should be the starting goalie for team USA at the World Junior Championships next winter.
“It’s in their hands now,” McDonnell said. “But we’ve got a good feeling about how both of these kids are going to continue to develop.”
The Stars also have a chance to add another so-called first round talent on Saturday morning. The Stars have the No. 39 pick and McDonnell believes a player will be available that will still be high on the team's list.
Follow Sean Shapiro on Twitter @SeanShapiro.