Stars Prospects: Bringing A Youth Movement To Dallas

Photo: Vernon Bryant/The Dallas Morning News

By Mike Gambill

Amidst the crisis that has become the coronavirus pandemic, the world of sports will resume-eventually. The NHL has indefinitely suspended the remainder of the regular 2019-20 season including the upcoming Draft, Combine and various award shows. Nobody in the hockey world knows if this season is officially over or what the future holds exactly.

However, there are plenty of positives within the Dallas Stars organization. Not only is this team poised to head to the playoffs if the season resumes, but there is also a strong youth movement on the way to provide relief for one of the oldest teams in the NHL. The Stars possess plenty of young talent within their AHL affiliate and junior ranks and these players will soon become household names for Stars fans in the very near future.

Thomas Harley

Defenseman Thomas Harley is currently ranked by The Hockey News as the top prospect currently within the Stars organization. Harley, a 6’3″, 190 lb. defenseman is a young 18-year-old originally from Syracuse, NY and was drafted in the first round by the Stars last year as the 18th pick overall. Harley had a breakout year with Mississauga in the OHL this season and in 59 games scored 18 goals and had 39 assists. Harley is considered by many scouts to be a potentially dominant blueliner; the Stars are currently well-stocked with defensemen so there is no rush in bringing up Harley to Dallas in the near future. Harley will be a welcome addition to the veteran Stars defense when he is ready and has matured to the level of NHL play in the next couple of years.

Jake Oettinger

Goalie Jake Oettinger has already set his sights on becoming the replacement for Ben Bishop when that time comes to replace the veteran netminder with more youth. At just 21 years old, Oettinger has time to continue his development with the AHL Texas Stars and be available for call-ups on an as-needed basis with the big club in Dallas. Oettinger has the physical size to have an impact in the NHL as he checks in at 6’5″ and 225 lbs. Oettinger has put in good numbers this shortened season with Texas and in 38 games posted a GAA of 2.57 and a save percentage of .917. Oettinger was called up in February when Ben Bishop was injured and backed up Anton Khudobin so he has seen the sights and sounds of an NHL locker room and certainly will be the Stars goalie for the conceivable future.

Ty Dellandrea

Center Ty Dellandrea is another first-round draft pick from 2018 who is about to pay dividends for the Stars. Dellandrea turned in great numbers this season with Flint in the OHL and in 47 games played he posted 32 goals and 38 assists, impressive numbers for the 19-year-old. Dellandrea will no doubt be promoted to the minors with a likely stop in Texas with the AHL before he is fully ready to move over and become a member of the Stars roster within the next season or two.

Jason Robertson

Forward Jason Robertson is another hot-handed prospect and could be an answer to some of the scoring problems in Dallas. Robertson, a 6’3″, 210 lb. left-winger originally from Arcadia, CA won the 2018 OHL scoring title with a split season in Kingston and Niagara with a staggering 48 goals and 69 assists in 62 games played- a total of nearly two points scored per game. Robertson also earned a call-up in February to the Stars and scored his first NHL goal on February 13th against the Toronto Maple Leafs. Robertson could easily be fast-tracked through the AHL and make an appearance again for the Stars at some point next season with a chance that he earns a spot on the Stars bench for good.

The future of the Dallas Stars in terms of top-notch prospects looks strong as the organization attempts to re-focus its energy on a youth movement coming up the hockey ranks. GM Jim Nill made no major trade moves this past February at the deadline and instead the Stars will have to rely on their prospect pool to lead this organization into continual competitiveness in the Central Division for years to come.

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March 31st, 2020




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