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August 22, 2012
Top 10 Prospects
Dallas Stars

by Corey Pronman

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Full list of NHL Organizational Rankings

Dallas Stars Top 10 Prospects

1. Radek Faksa, Center
2. Reilly Smith, Right Wing
3. Ludvig Bystrom, Defense
4. Alex Chiasson, Right Wing
5. Matt Fraser, Left Wing
6. Jamieson Oleksiak, Defense
7. Matej Stransky, Right Wing
8. Scott Glennie, Right Wing
9. Brenden Dillon, Defense
10.Patrik Nemeth, Defense

Organizational Ranking: 13th

System Overview: The Stars may lack that elite prospect in their system, but their depth is right up there with the best in the league. This was one of the hardest systems to rank because they have talent up and down the pipeline and solid prospects outside their top fifteen. Dallas has players with good upside that are a few years away, but several solid prospects who are knocking on the door to play in the NHL.

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1. Radek Faksa, Center
2010-11 Ranking: N/A
Date of birth: 01/09/1994
Age: 18
Height: 6'3''
Weight: 203
Shoots: Left
Statistics: 62 GP, 29 G, 67 P (Kitchener-OHL)
Acquired: First round, 13th overall in 2012 by Dallas

The Good: Faksa is a very good all-around prospect who can help his team in so many areas. He's an above-average skater who is well above-average for his size. The same can be said for his puck skills, as he can make plays and is pretty coordinated for his size. Faksa plays a tough game and doesn't shy from punishing his checks, and he protects the puck pretty well. Faksa is an advanced two-way thinker who was leaned on by Kitchener to be one of their better defensive forwards. He's a smart player who can set up his teammates as well.

The Bad: Faksa really lacks any form of glaring weakness. I've heard conflicting reports on his playmaking skills as a few scouts see him as simply average in that area, although others see him as high-end.

Projection: His ceiling is between a fringe #1 center and a very good #2.

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2. Reilly Smith, Right Wing
2010-11 Ranking: 1st
Date of birth: 04/01/1991
Age: 21
Height: 6'0''
Weight: 186
Shoots: Left
Statistics: 39 GP, 30 G, 48 P (Miami University-CCHA)
Acquired: Third round, 69th overall in 2009 by Dallas

The Good: Smith has a good array of offensive tools to work with. He's an above-average skater, puck handler, and thinker that can push the pace in transition while showing impressive offensive instincts to make plays with the puck by himself or to his teammates. Smith has a gritty element to his game, too, as he fights for loose pucks, works hard on the backcheck, and can be a net front player. He also flashes a plus shot and can score from way out.

The Bad: Smith doesn't really have a glaring weakness other than some minor issues such as needing to bulk up a little more and being a little better in terms of his playmaking.

Projection: He could be an above-average second line winger.

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3. Ludvig Bystrom, Defense
2010-11 Ranking: N/A
Date of birth: 07/20/1994
Age: 18
Height: 6'1''
Weight: 208
Shoots: Left
Statistics: 34 GP, 7 G, 29 P (MODO J20-J20 SuperElit)
Acquired: Second round, 43rd overall in 2012 by Dallas

The Good: Bystrom is a good skater who is mobile in all directions and has the top gear to lead a rush out of his own end. Bystrom's best traits are his hockey sense and puck-moving which are plus. He has such great poise with the puck and can make all the right plays under pressure and has the ability to make difficult passes. Bystrom tends to make good reads and uses his stick well to disrupt plays.

The Bad: Bystrom is slightly undersized but he's also not a player who uses his body much and his physical game projects as below average at best.

Projection: He could be a good second pairing defender.

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4. Alex Chiasson, Right Wing
2010-11 Ranking: 5th
Date of birth: 10/01/1990
Age: 21
Height: 6'3''
Weight: 203
Shoots: Right
Statistics: 38 GP, 15 G, 48 P (Boston University-Hockey East)
Acquired: Second round, 38th overall in 2009 by Dallas

The Good: Chiasson has power forward written all over him, as he's a big, strong winger who plays a tough game and protects the puck well. He should be a high-end and potentially even better physical player in the NHL. He has some skill, too, as he's an above-average puck-handler who can control the puck well. Chiasson also has a plus shot and can simply launch bombs from mid-distance. He's a hard-working player who can be effective in his own end.

The Bad: Chiasson's skating needs work as his stride is a little choppy and he doesn't move at a pro level yet. I also wouldn't classify him as an instinctual playmaker although he can make some plays.

Projection: He could be a decent second line power winger.

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5. Matt Fraser, Left Wing
2010-11 Ranking: Unranked
Date of birth: 05/20/1990
Age: 22
Height: 6'2''
Weight: 207
Shoots: Left
Statistics: 73 GP, 37 G, 55 P (Texas-AHL)
Acquired: Free agent

The Good: Fraser certainly projects as a goal-scorer in the NHL as he has a plus shot which one scout describes as "incredible" as the puck flies off his stick with power. He has other elements to his game, too, as he's a solid skater with a good first step and smooth mechanics. Fraser has decent hands to go along with fine size which allows him to protect the puck well and do fine in the high percentage areas. Fraser shows a good two-way work ethic as well.

The Bad: Fraser's defensive reads could be slightly better to go along with his decision-making although both areas improved notably in his first pro season. I don't think he's a player who the offense will flow through either.

Projection: He could be an average second line forward.

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6. Jamieson Oleksiak, Defense
2010-11 Ranking: 3rd
Date of birth: 12/21/1992
Age: 20
Height: 6'7''
Weight: 252
Shoots: Right
Statistics: 57 GP, 12 G, 31 P (Sagniaw/Niagara-OHL)
Acquired: First round, 14th overall in 2011 by Dallas

The Good: Oleksiak is a monster from the blue line, standing in at around 6'6'' to 6'7'', and uses his frame well. He projects as an elite physical player in the NHL because of his size and because he's started to add a more physical element to his game this season. He's a decent skater and puck mover, but both of those areas are well above average for a player of his size. Oleksiak will at times flash the potential to take over games because of the fact he has some offensive potential to go along with his size.

The Bad: Oleksiak is not the most coordinated puck-handler and he doesn't really project as a power-play weapon. At times, his decision-making can be suspect, too, as he can rush plays or make bad reads but that area of his game isn't that bad.

Projection: He could be an above-average second pairing defender.

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7. Matej Stransky, Right Wing
2010-11 Ranking: Unranked
Date of birth: 07/11/1993
Age: 19
Height: 6'3''
Weight: 201
Shoots: Right
Statistics: 70 GP, 39 G, 81 P (Saskatoon-WHL)
Acquired: Sixth round, 165th overall in 2011 by Dallas

The Good: Stransky had a big second WHL season, adding over 50 points to last year's total. He's a skilled big man with above-average hands and vision who can be a handful for defenders to deal with. In the WHL, he showed the ability to protect the puck well with his big frame, but aside from a good power game, Stransky also has the ability to deke in tight spaces and set his teammates up well.

The Bad: Stransky's skating needs work as he has a choppy stride and a poor first step. He can get knocked off his feet easily, too, due to his balance and the fact he needs more strength. His defense could improve as well.

Projection: He could be a decent second line winger.

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8. Scott Glennie, Right Wing
2010-11 Ranking: 2nd
Date of birth: 02/21/1991
Age: 21
Height: 6'1''
Weight: 200
Shoots: Right
Statistics: 70 GP, 12 G, 37 P (Texas-AHL)
Acquired: First round, eighth overall in 2009 by Dallas

The Good: Glennie is a pretty skilled winger who is an above-average skater as he moves with a fluid stride and a powerful first step. He's a smart two-way player who covers his assignments well in his own end. Glennie is also able to be a solid playmaker to along with having above-average puck skills.

The Bad: Glennie struggled in his first pro season, although towards the end of the year, he was one of Texas' best players. He needs to put on a lot of strength. He has the tools but his offensive upside drew questions this year and one scout said he looks like a potential "complementary player."

Projection: He has top-six tools, but right now he's tracking as a third line player.

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9. Brenden Dillon, Defense
2010-11 Ranking: 6th
Date of birth: 11/30/1990
Age: 22
Height: 6'3''
Weight: 211
Shoots: Left
Statistics: 76 GP, 6 G, 29 P (Texas-AHL)
Acquired: Free agent

The Good: Dillon had a fine first full pro season, logging pretty tough minutes in Texas. He's a decent to solid skater who moves at a fine level for a player his size. His stride is a tad awkward but he gets where he needs to go and is fairly mobile. Dillon has above-average hockey sense, showing the ability to play well in his own end, but also has the offensive instincts to make a good first pass and occasionally jump into the rush. He has a solid physical game.

The Bad: Dillon isn't an overly-gifted offensive player and his pure upside seems somewhat limited.

Projection: He could be an okay #4 to a good #5 defenseman.

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10. Patrik Nemeth, Defense
2010-11 Ranking: 8th
Date of birth: 02/08/1992
Age: 20
Height: 6'3''
Weight: 212
Shoots: Left
Statistics: 46 GP, 0 G, 3 P, 17:10 ATOI (Skelleftea-SEL)
Acquired: Second round, 41st overall in 2010 by Dallas

The Good: Nemeth is a big man who plays a tough game, projecting as a high-end physical player at the top level. He's a strong man, and that shows when he's either leaning into his check or hammering a shot from the point. Nemeth is a decent skater and puck-mover who is above average in both areas for his size. He will flash offensive creativity and has the raw tools to potentially be a fine puck-mover in the North American pro game.

The Bad: Nemeth's scouting reports suggest he has some offensive potential, but his production has been underwhelming. That may be somewhat due to tough defensive minutes, though.

Projection: He could be a #4 defenseman.

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The Next Five

11.Mike Winther, Center: Winther is fast, skilled, and works hard, but needs to put on a ton of strength.

12. Brett Ritchie, Right Wing: Ritchie is a great physical player with good hands and an elite shot. His issues are skating and consistency.

13. Gemel Smith, Left Wing: Smith is an excellent skater with tremendous intangibles who can make some plays as well.

14. Colton Sceviour, Right Wing: Sceviour is on the cusp of an NHL job. He has fine two-way hockey sense with decent quickness.

15. John Klingberg, Defense: Klingberg's skating and puck skills are drool-worthy tools but his hockey sense is really bad.

The Sleeper: Devin Shore, Center

Shore has impressive hands and on-ice work ethic to go along with good hockey sense. He could have a big freshman season at Maine.

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Dallas Stars Organizational Top 10

Players 22 or under as of 09/15/2012 or still considered a prospect as defined here.

1. Radek Faksa, Center
2. Reilly Smith, Right Wing
3. Ludvig Bystrom, Defense
4. Cody Eakin, Center
5. Philip Larsen, Defense
6.Alex Chiasson, Right Wing
7. Matt Fraser, Left Wing
8. Jamieson Oleksiak, Defense
9.Tomas Vincour, Right Wing
10. Matej Stransky, Right Wing

Eakin, who was acquired from Washington, was fine in his first pro season but didn't show the significant offensive ability he did in junior. Still, he's a high-end skater with solid puck possession abilities and a great work ethic and there are certainly still signs he could be a scoring line forward with defensive value. Larsen came on well as the season went on. He doesn't have a ton of upside but he has good two-way hockey sense and a decent enough skill set to project as a fine pro. Vincour had good possession numbers in a limited role this season, and while I could buy some upside to him, I'm not completely buying him as a potential above-average pro yet.

Corey Pronman is an author of Hockey Prospectus. You can contact Corey by clicking here or click here to see Corey's other articles.

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