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Stars' top pick 'speechless' after selection at NHL Draft

Dellandrea overwhelmed by huge cheer from Dallas fans

by Jeff MIller / Correspondent

DALLAS -- Though 31 young hockey players enjoyed the thrill of a lifetime when hearing their names announced during the first round of the 2018 NHL Draft on Friday, only center Ty Dellandrea experienced thunderous applause after being chosen by the host Dallas Stars.

"Hearing the fans after my name got called. I was speechless," said Dellandrea, 17, who was selected with the 13th pick. "To hear that roar and be able to walk down to that stage with them cheering."


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Representatives of the other 30 NHL teams thanked the Stars for their hospitality during the organization's first opportunity to host the draft, even if it took place following the hottest day of the year in Dallas, with temperatures reaching triple digits.

"It's been hot," Dellandrea said with a smile. "I'm going to learn how to get a tan, for sure."

Stars captain Jamie Benn said, "It's great to have us host the draft, for our fans to be able to see what kind of goes on behind the scenes."

Benn wasn't a mere spectator. He and Hall of Fame center Mike Modano, the face of the franchise for 20 years in Minnesota and Dallas, brought the fans to their feet when introduced to announce the selection.

"It's good to be back in Big D," Modano told the crowd.

OK, not all of the fans who packed American Airlines Center cheered Modano and the Dallas contingent on stage. A handful of Buffalo Sabres fans seated toward the opposite end of the arena yelled, "No goal! No goal!" as a reminder that the Stanley Cup championship that Modano and the 1998-99 Stars won came on a controversial overtime goal by Brett Hull.

Modano kidded Benn about not being onstage when he was drafted by Dallas in 2007 because he was taken in the fifth round, then turned serious.

"It just shows you don't have to be a first-rounder to win an Art Ross Trophy," Modano said. To which Benn replied, "I'll trade that Art Ross Trophy that me and my teammates won for that Stanley Cup banner."

Modano and Benn congratulated Dellandrea and urged him to soak in everything that he could from his draft night.

"It was unbelievable, two guys that you look up to in the hockey world," said Dellandrea, a Toronto native who has played two seasons with Flint of the Ontario Hockey League. "To have your name called by Jamie is something I'll remember for the rest of my life."

It was a name that took a little practice beforehand for the present and past Dallas standouts to master.

"He was hoping for Ty Smith [who went to the New Jersey Devils at No. 17]," Modano said of Benn. "He was a little panicked there the last two seconds."

Dellandrea said he was unaware Dallas would pick him, learning of the selection only when Benn told the gathering: "With the 13th pick in the 2018 NHL Entry Draft, the Dallas Stars are proud to select, from Flint of the OHL, Ty Dellandrea."

Modano said, "He looked surprised. It was kind of neat to see."

Dellandrea led Flint with 59 points (27 goals, 32 assists) in 67 games last season. Stars general manager Jim Nill cited mostly intangibles in explaining the selection.

"It's how he competes," Nill said. "We like how he improved during the season. It was his attitude. He went to a team -- it was a mess. And he went there and said, 'I want to be part of this.' Helped change the culture and everything else. He became the leader there. He's got great speed. Really, really well-rounded skills."

Dellandrea said he has tried to pattern his game after Jonathan Toews of the Chicago Blackhawks.

"I like the way he plays an all-around game, a 200-foot player," Dellandrea said. "Takes pride in his D-zone, but his offensive abilities are unbelievable. Plays at a high compete level. I play with that as well."

Nill said Dellandrea will probably play two more seasons with Flint.

"We think he's just kind of touching the edge of what he can really become," Nill said. "There's a lot more to give there, and we think he's going to reach that."

The Stars will hold their development camp next week with Dellandrea among the participants.

"He brought his skates with him, so that's good," Nill said.

Video: Recapping Day 1 of the 2018 NHL Draft

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