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On the Radar: Eye on the Pipeline

Wednesday, 05.07.2014 / 10:30 AM / On the Radar
By Josh Bogorad
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On the Radar: Eye on the Pipeline
The emphasis on a strong, young nucleus and developing key players through the draft and minor leagues is a big part of the Stars philosophy moving forward.

It’s been about a week and a half since the Dallas Stars season came to a close. But there is another group of Stars that is still alive and fighting for a championship. The AHL’s Texas Stars will begin the second round of their quest for the Calder Cup on Thursday when they meet the Grand Rapid Griffins.

One of the many reasons fans were so excited about this year’s Dallas Stars team was the emergence of young talent on display. Whether it was Cody Eakin, Alex Chiasson, Brenden Dillon, or even Tyler Seguin, the Stars were overflowing with key members of their roster in their early 20’s that are expected to be in Victory Green for years to come. A large number of Dallas’ talented youngsters climbed through Cedar Park on their way north. And there are still a number of players on the Texas Stars that could very soon be making an appearance at the NHL level.

To find out just how big of an impact the AHL Stars have had on the NHL Stars, all you have to do is look at this postseason. Of the 24 men on the Stars Stanley Cup Playoff Roster, 13 of them had previously played for Texas. That includes a half-dozen that played there this season alone. Conversely, nine current members of the Texas Stars playoff roster played for Dallas this year. Included on that list are Patrik Nemeth, Chris Mueller, and Dustin Jeffrey who were all with Dallas for the playoffs before being reassigned after the series loss to Anaheim.

The emphasis on a strong, young nucleus and developing key players through the draft and minor leagues is a big part of the Stars philosophy moving forward. Replenishing the talent pool with a new wave of young players was a strength of the Detroit Red Wings during Jim Nill’s 19-year run in Hockeytown, and he plans to follow that model in Dallas. He has said many times this season that with the CBA’s younger age of unrestricted free agents, more players are being signed to long-term contracts earlier in their career, reducing the number of high-end free agents that hit the market in their prime. While there will still be pieces acquired in free agency, and trades also remain a possibility – as in the case of Seguin – Nill’s long-term goal for this team is to grow and maintain a strong pipeline.

As of right now he’s got a great setup in place to do just that. Texas finished the AHL regular season with the best record in the league, and we’ve already examined the number of players they graduated to Dallas. When scouring the Texas roster, there are a number of candidates for who might be next. Forwards like Curtis McKenzie, Travis Morin and Brett Ritchie turned heads with their numbers all season. Young defensemen like Jamie Oleksiak, Jyrki Jokipakka, Cameron Gaunce, and (currently injured) John Klingberg are all expected to be in training camp fighting for a Dallas roster spot four short months from now. Goaltenders Jack Campbell and Christopher Nilstorp will give Nill and company something to think about regarding their plans for a number two netminder next season.

If you’re a Stars fan, chances are you were thrilled with what you saw in terms of the Dallas youth movement this season. If you’re interested to see who’s coming over the horizon next, you might want to keep an eye on Cedar Park for the next several weeks. Rest assured the Dallas Stars front office and coaching staff will be doing the same thing.

Josh Bogorad is the Pre-Game, Post-Game, and Intermission host for the Stars radio broadcasts. He can be heard 30 minutes before face-off and immediately after games all season long on SportsRadio 1310AM and 96.7FM The Ticket. Follow him on Twitter at @JoshBogorad.


This story was not subject to the approval of the National Hockey League or Dallas Stars Hockey Club. Josh Bogorad is an independent writer whose posts on DallasStars.com reflect his own opinions and do not represent official statements from the Dallas Stars.

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

WESTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 NSH 61 41 13 7 186 143 89
2 ANA 62 38 17 7 182 174 83
3 STL 61 39 18 4 190 152 82
4 CHI 62 37 20 5 183 146 79
5 WPG 63 31 20 12 174 169 74
6 VAN 61 35 23 3 174 162 73
7 LAK 59 29 18 12 162 152 70
8 CGY 61 33 24 4 174 158 70
9 MIN 60 31 22 7 169 158 69
10 SJS 61 30 23 8 171 174 68
11 DAL 61 27 25 9 191 202 63
12 COL 61 26 24 11 161 175 63
13 ARI 62 20 35 7 137 210 47
14 EDM 62 18 34 10 142 206 46

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Benn 61 23 37 -1 60
T. Seguin 55 29 30 0 59
J. Spezza 61 14 37 -3 51
E. Cole 56 18 14 4 32
J. Klingberg 47 10 22 4 32
T. Daley 58 16 15 -11 31
A. Hemsky 55 9 17 -7 26
A. Goligoski 61 2 24 4 26
C. Eakin 58 12 13 -3 25
A. Roussel 59 11 11 -11 22
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
K. Lehtonen 25 13 9 .906 2.96
J. Enroth 13 24 2 .900 3.31
 
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