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30in30: Stars' top 10 prospects led by scorer Ritchie

Monday, 08.11.2014 / 10:06 AM / News
By Mike G. Morreale  - NHL.com Staff Writer
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30in30: Stars\' top 10 prospects led by scorer Ritchie
Brett Ritchie helped the Texas Stars win a Calder Cup championship earlier this year and is now among the top prospects in the Dallas Stars organization pushing for an NHL roster spot.

Dallas Stars general manager Jim Nill believes one trademark of an elite organization is the ability to train and develop players in a winning environment.

Nill can take pride in the fact the organization's American Hockey League affiliate, the Texas Stars, is doing just that. In its first five seasons of existence, Texas has already posted four 40-win seasons and made two trips to the Calder Cup Finals, winning it all last season.

"The Texas Stars have done a great job with [training and developing], and I know firsthand that the rewards from winning the Calder Cup will have a profoundly positive impact for each of our prospects and our team in Dallas as we move forward," Nill said.

The championship roster last season featured 10 players chosen by the organization in the NHL Draft.

"One thing is certain, we have a very deep pool of players in the pipeline," director of amateur scouting Joe McDonnell said.

Here's a look at the Stars' top 10 prospects, according to NHL.com:

1. Brett Ritchie, RW

How acquired: 2nd round (No. 44), 2011 draft

Last season: 68 GP, 22-26-48, Texas, AHL

The right-handed shot adds size (6-foot-3, 220 pounds) and power to the lineup. He had a terrific rookie season in Texas, producing seven goals and 11 points in 13 games in the Calder Cup Playoffs. His brother, Nick Ritchie, was selected in the first round (No. 10) by the Anaheim Ducks in the 2014 draft. Nill has said Ritchie, 21, is in the mix of players pushing for playing time in Dallas this season.

"The door is open," Nill said. "I am excited about the competition. I want everybody to come into training camp to show what they can do. There are going to be openings and there are going to be injuries. It's a long year and it's a battle."

Projected NHL arrival: 2014-15

2. John Klingberg, D

How acquired: 5th round (No. 131), 2010 draft

Last season: 50 GP, 11-17-28, Frolunda, SHL; 3 GP, 0-1-1, Texas, AHL

The 6-1, 176-pound offensive-defenseman, who turns 22 on Aug. 14, could turn out to be the steal of the 2010 draft. The big Swede closed out the 2013-14 season with Texas with four assists in seven playoff games. He'll begin his first full season in the AHL after starring for Frolunda in Sweden's top division last season. He exhibits good decision-making in all three zones as well as good puck handling and hockey sense, traits that will benefit him in his first full season in North America.

"He sees the game in a different way. I mean, he's very unique," Stars assistant GM Les Jackson said. "He has some areas where he can improve, and that's exciting, because he has other areas where he really has something that very few players have. He reminds me of [Sergei] Zubov the way he sees the game."

Projected NHL arrival: 2015-16

3. Devin Shore, C

How acquired: 2nd round (No. 61), 2012 draft

Last season: 35 GP, 14-29-43, University of Maine, Hockey East

As a sophomore, Shore (6-1, 185) led the Black Bears in points for the second straight season. He tied for 15th in the nation in points per game (1.23) and ranked second nationally, and led all of Hockey East with three shorthanded goals. The 20-year-old was named a Second Team All-American, Hockey East First Team honoree and Maine's most valuable player. The finance major will likely serve as captain for the Black Bears when he returns for his junior campaign.

"Devin had a really strong season," Jackson said. "He's a real solid player, smart. He was one of the better players in college hockey, has a great attitude and good work ethic. He is a pretty impressive player and person."

Projected NHL arrival: 2015-16

4. Jason Dickinson, C

How acquired: 1st round (No. 29), 2013 draft

Last season: 68 GP, 26-52-78, Guelph, OHL

The 6-2, 183-pound pivot tied for fifth in the Ontario Hockey League playoff scoring race with 24 points (eight goals, 16 assists) in 20 games to help lead Guelph to the league championship. During one game of the Memorial Cup series, the 19-year-old was assigned to contain forward Anthony Mantha (24 goals, 38 points in 24 playoff games) of Val-d'Or and limited the Detroit Red Wings' top prospect to one assist and a minus-3 rating in a 6-3 victory. Dickinson, a native of Georgetown, Ontario, is expected to return to Guelph this season before turning pro in 2015-16.

"Jason has taken another step forward in his performance and is right on track developmentally; he's a good two-way player," Jackson said. "We just have to be patient with him, work with him, but he is a good young player. The coaches [in Guelph] love him, they respect his work ethic. He's a well-rounded kid and has all things in his game that will allow him to move forward."

Projected NHL arrival: 2017-18

5. Jack Campbell, G

How acquired: 1st round (No. 11), 2010 draft

Last season: 16 GP, 12-2-2, 1.49 GAA, .942 save percentage, Texas, AHL; 1 GP, 0-1-0, 6.00 GAA, .872 save percentage, Dallas

Despite seeing limited playing time last season due to a knee injury, Campbell (6-2, 185) did make major strides. While alternating starts with Cristopher Nilstorp in the Calder Cup Playoffs, he went 2-1 with a 2.54 goals-against average and .917 save percentage in four games before sustaining an injury in Game 5 of the second round. Campbell, 22, made his NHL debut on Oct. 20, 2013, stopping 41 of 47 shots in a 6-3 loss to the Anaheim Ducks.

"Last year was a huge challenge for him, and when he played he was fantastic," Stars goalie coach Mike Valley said. "Would that have remained over the course of playing 50 games? Who knows? I would hope so. The reality of it is that his next step is to stay healthy and make sure that we get him to play a full season at that high level, and then we can start talking about the next step. You've got to walk before you run."

Projected NHL arrival: 2015-16

6. Radek Faksa, C

How acquired: 1st round (No. 13), 2012 draft

Last season: 59 GP, 21-27-48, Kitchener/Sudbury, OHL; 6 GP, 1-2-3, Texas, AHL

Faksa played in six regular-season games with Texas in the AHL and also was a two-way force in all 21 playoff games, chipping in with four goals and a plus-2 rating. It was his defensive ability that caught the eye of Nill and might just give the 20-year-old left-handed shooter an opportunity to make the Dallas roster out of training camp. Faksa also represented the Czech Republic for the third straight year and served as an alternate captain at the 2014 World Junior Championship, scoring one goal in five games. Many expect the 6-3, 214-pound forward to spend one full season in the AHL before earning an NHL spot.

Projected NHL arrival: 2015-16

7. Julius Honka, D

How acquired: 1st round (No. 14), 2014 draft

Last season: 62 GP, 16-40-56, Swift Current, WHL

The right-hand shot, highly skilled off the transition and capable of running a power play from the point, led all rookie defenders in the Western Hockey League in scoring last season. Honka (5-10, 181), won a gold medal for Finland at the 2014 World Junior Championship, producing one assist in seven games as the youngest player on the talent-laden roster. He is 18 years old.

"I think any defenseman at that age needs work in their own end, especially at the pro level," McDonnell said. "But he plays it fine. He competes. Obviously he is not a [6-foot-3] defenseman, but he plays bigger than he is. He goes into the corner to make plays to get the puck out of his zone. He makes a great first pass out."

Projected NHL arrival: 2017-18

8. Patrik Nemeth, D

How acquired: 2nd round (No. 41), 2010 draft

Last season: 37 GP, 3-7-10, Texas, AHL; 8 GP, 0-0-0, Dallas

Nemeth, 22, has a knack for coming up big in the clutch. He scored an overtime goal in Game 5 of the Calder Cup Final against the St. John's IceCaps to give Texas its first AHL championship. He also assisted on Mika Zibanejad's overtime goal in the gold medal game of the 2012 World Junior Championship as Sweden won 1-0 against Russia in Calgary. The 6-3, 212-pound stay-at-home defenseman enjoys playing a physical brand of hockey. It wouldn't be surprising to see Nemeth earn some significant playing time with Dallas this season.

Projected NHL arrival: 2014-15

9. Jyrki Jokipakka, D

How acquired: 7th round (No. 195), 2011 draft

Last season: 68 GP, 5-16-21, Texas, AHL

At 6-3, 193 pounds, the native of Finland could turn out to be another uncovered draft gem. Jokipakka, who will turn 23 on Aug. 20, finished third among defensemen in scoring as a rookie for Texas this season and had a plus-5 rating. He'll challenge for a roster spot with Dallas and perhaps receive a cup of coffee with the big club out of training camp.

Projected NHL arrival: 2015-16

10. Philippe Desrosiers, G

How acquired: 2nd round (No. 54), 2013 draft

Last season: 52 GP, 31-14-7, 2.65 GAA, .907 save percentage, Rimouski, QMJHL

Desrosiers (6-1, 195), who will turn 19 on Aug. 15, set a Quebec Major Junior Hockey League record with a 243:35 shutout streak in 2013-14, and went 7-3 with a 2.34 GAA and .917 save percentage in 11 playoff games. He also won 14 straight decisions, the fifth-longest streak in league history, and ranked fourth in the league in GAA, seventh in save percentage, fifth in wins and fifth in shutouts (five).

"[Former NHL goalie] Andy Moog got to work with him and Mike Valley has been working with him," Jackson said. "The kid has a pro attitude and pro-style game, and has done really well."

Projected NHL arrival: 2017-18

Follow Mike Morreale on Twitter at: @mikemorrealeNHL

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

WESTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 ANA 20 11 4 5 54 50 27
2 NSH 18 12 4 2 52 37 26
3 VAN 19 13 6 0 58 56 26
4 CGY 20 12 6 2 63 53 26
5 STL 18 12 5 1 49 35 25
6 LAK 19 10 5 4 50 42 24
7 WPG 20 10 7 3 40 43 23
8 SJS 21 10 9 2 57 57 22
9 CHI 18 10 7 1 51 36 21
10 MIN 17 10 7 0 50 39 20
11 ARI 19 8 9 2 48 59 18
12 COL 19 6 8 5 47 61 17
13 DAL 19 6 9 4 53 67 16
14 EDM 19 6 11 2 48 65 14

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
T. Seguin 19 14 10 0 24
J. Spezza 19 3 14 -10 17
J. Benn 19 6 9 -1 15
T. Daley 19 5 5 -10 10
A. Roussel 19 5 5 -6 10
R. Garbutt 18 3 5 -4 8
A. Goligoski 19 0 8 -1 8
E. Cole 18 4 3 0 7
S. Horcoff 19 3 4 1 7
V. Fiddler 19 2 5 0 7
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
K. Lehtonen 6 5 4 .903 3.04
A. Lindback 0 4 0 .845 4.52
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