Now that the NHL Combine has completed, and many of the prospects return to their respective homes for a couple weeks of rest and relaxation, it’s about that time to start taking a look at the possibilities that could potentially unfold for the Dallas Stars on June 30th in Newark, NJ during the NHL Entry Draft.  The Colorado Avalanche won the draft lottery, assuring them the first pick overall.  Going into last Sunday’s Memorial Cup final, it was all but certain the ‘Lanche would choose local-grown (but Plano native), Seth Jones from the Portland Winterhawks of the WHL.  However, after the Winterhawks lost out to the Halifax Moosehead, Nate MacKinnon has asserted himself as a possible first overall.  To round out the top three prospects, MacKinnon’s teammate, Jonathan Drouin is most definitely making sure he has stocked up on sunscreen, as the 2nd and 3rd picks belong to the two Florida teams: Panthers and Tampa Bay Lightning.

With the top three all but etched in stone (the order is TBD), the area where we’ll be focusing on is 4-15, as this is the range where the Stars can find themselves.  It’s been duly noted that Dallas holds 10 draft picks, and thanks to the Boston Bruins elimination of the New York Rangers which vaulted the B’s into the Eastern Conference finals, the Stars find themselves with two first round picks.  It’s also been pointed out that new general manager, Jim Nill, spent 15 years in Detroit building one of the most successful dynasties in professional sports while only having 8 first round draft picks in the 15 years.

Now, I’ve always said, StarsInsider will not deal with speculations or rumors, but when it comes to drafts, there is always a slight case of speculation that is always present, even when the general manager is walking up to the stage to announce the pick.  “So-and-so is the best player available.”  “So-and-so addresses the team’s needs the best.”  With that being said, coupled with GMJim’s track record, it almost goes without saying that the Stars will look to trade one of their first round picks (most likely their 10th pick) along with one of their two 2nd rounds or depending on the team they’re dealing with, their 3rd and a prospect.

However, I’m not going to try and predict the future.  I’m going to attempt to take the above information (Nill, multiple picks, team needs and prospect rankings) and we’re going to spend the next few weeks highlighting some of the players that we feel could ultimately be the Stars picks in the upcoming entry draft.

First in our spotlight is Finnish center, Aleksander Barkov.  At 17 years old, Barkov has already established himself with many of the current draftees, despite his young age.  He competed against 18-20 year olds at this year’s World Junior tournament where he played in 6 games and recorded 7 points.  Barkov is showing in everyone’s draft boards as going 4th to the Nashville Predators.  This could potentially be a move that could entice Nill to make a move as Nashville has several options to consider here.  One, they just unloaded a lot of cash last year to retain defenseman, Shea Weber.  Though the 2013-2014 cap numbers are similar for the Stars and Preds, Nashville may not want to spend top-5 dollars on a draft pick, especially with the Free Agency period set to take place 3 days after the draft.  Plus, the Predators have one first round pick, none in the 2nd and one in the third round.  Nashville may want to look to build on their draft picks in the later rounds (they do have 3 fourth rounders) as they have a number of guys in their mid-20s.  Draft picks now can develop in four years once their roster starts to creep into the 30’s. 

So, I definitely can see the Stars and Preds making a deal that could potentially vault the Stars into the 4th position and they can take Barkov.  In addition to his play in the World Juniors, he played 53 games with Finland’s Elite team and notched 48 points and was a plus-18.  At 6’3” and 205 pounds, Barkov is widely considered a playmaker.  With amazing vision and hands, he’s able to kick start scoring opportunities while maintaining above average play in the defensive zone.  The only downside that I can see from the Stars drafting Barkov is that he is a left shot, and let’s face it, the Stars have an abundance of lefties.  However, Aleksander is committed to playing in Finland next year and it would do him some good.  There is some questions surrounding a shoulder injury that could use some time to heal as opposed to being rushed into the NHL.  Plus, there are scouting reports that during some exhibitions with older players from across the globe, his youth had him apprehensive, so some maturity could do both sides well.

Overall, I think having a Barkov as an option to come in down the road as a 3rd line center behind Radek Faksa and Cody Eakin would be a remarkable “problem” to have (problem in that generally, top-5 draft picks are top ice time guys).  Over time, if he had to be used on the top two lines as a winger, that of course is a possibility. 

Aleksander Barkov

Ht/Wt: 6' 2"/209 lbs
Position: C
Team: Tappara (FIN)

 Season

Team

League

GP

G

A

TP

PIM

 2012-2013

Tappara

SM-liiga

53

21

27

48

8

 

Tappara

ET

7

3

1

4

4

 

Finland U20

WJC-20

6

3

4

7

6

 

Finland U20 (all)

International-Jr

8

0

4

4

2