Prospects hold hope for the future and make us all feel more comfortable knowing that more help is on the way. The annual rite of passage this time of year signaling that hockey is back is upon us. It’s time to rank prospects.
We’ve designated players with 45 games or less NHL experience as prospects for the purposes of this exercise. WFAA bloggers Brandon Worley and Josh Lile made their own top ten lists, then both were fused together to come up with a composite list. Without further ado, here are prospects 6-10!
6. F – Jason Dickinson:
Picked with the draft pick the Stars got in return for sending Jaromir Jagr to the Boston Bruins, Dickinson would probably be starting the season in the NHL had he not had offseason surgery. He had a very strong pro debut last year in Austin with 53 points in 73 games.
A quick forward with good hands, he should be one of the leaders for the Texas Stars when he comes back. He’s still growing into his 6’1 frame, but he has the upside to be a forward on the top two lines.
7. F - Denis Gurianov:
I’m torn on Gurianov. He either has the most upside of any prospect in the Stars system outside of Julius Honka, or we don’t really know what he is because of how little he played last year. Basically, this is all hopes and dreams!
He pretty clearly wasn’t ready for the KHL last year, but after a demotion he went back to being a point-per-game player in the Russian minor leagues. He will be playing in the AHL with the Texas Stars this year getting NHL-caliber instruction. In training camp he was noticeable just about every time he was on the ice for any drill or scrimmage.
What stuck out about Gurianov in the scrimmage was his willingness to backcheck. The offensive tools are certainly there, but the nuts and bolts of the game don’t seem to be an issue. One play that stuck out was a breakout he sprung from his own end where he had the puck on the boards under pressure from three or four opposing players. He took the puck and flung it across the ice to an open teammate.
Is the play risky? Sure on some level, but when you think about all of the thought processing that had to go into that play and the skill necessary to make the pass happen you realize this could be a special player. He needed to have the confidence to feel like he could do it, assessed that he could actually pull it off, and he then had to actually make a quick, quality pass. I like him, and I hope he shows that offensive upside this season in Austin.
8. F – Devin Shore:
Shore has a very good chance to be a quality NHL player. He was a good two way player in college and prior to his injury last year he was lighting up the AHL. 26 points in 23 games in the AHL at 21 years old is legit production.
His skill set makes it seem pretty likely that at worst he can have a good long career as a third or fourth-line forward, but the offensive ability he’s shown suggests he does have some upside if he ever gets a full chance to put it on display. With the Stars injury situation being what it is now would be a good time for him to show it.
9. F – Roope Hintz:
The 6’2 Finnish forward doesn’t turn 20 until November, yet registered 20 points in 33 games in Finland’s top league after a respectable debut for an 18 year old the year before. If you can produce against grown men in a professional league as a teenager you will get noticed.
Hintz is known for his Hockey IQ and intelligence. His skating, acceleration, and back checking all receive praise in various corners of the internet. When all of these skills come together it’s pretty easy to see a third/fourth line forward at worst, and quality players down the lineup who don’t make much money are valuable in a salary cap world.
10. D – Niklas Hansson:
I am pretty excited about Hansson. European prospects scoring against adult men are exciting, and the 6’1 defenseman is scoring at more than a respectable rate. 22 points in 48 games last season is going to get your some attention. This is going to ultimately be an unfair comparison, but John Klingberg had 28 in 50 games his last European season. The point of the comparison is that scoring is good and he did it so hey, let’s see what he can do when he comes over after this season.
These names are good and all, but stand by for our top 5 prospects in the Stars' system! In the meantime, follow Josh Lile on Twitter at @JoshL1220.