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Stars GM Nill excited to land Backman, Janmark

by Steve Hunt

DALLAS -- Shortly after trading left wing Erik Cole to the Detroit Red Wings, Dallas Stars general manager Jim Nill discussed the two prospects, defenseman Mattias Backman and center Mattias Janmark, the Stars received in return.

Backman, 22, was a fifth-round pick (No. 146) by Detroit in the 2011 NHL Draft. He played 18 games for Grand Rapids in the American Hockey League earlier this season before being loaned to Linkopings HC in the Swedish Hockey League.

Nill was an assistant general manager with the Red Wings when Backman was drafted, so he knows Backman well.

"He's a defenseman, a good puck-moving defenseman," Nill said. "He came over and played a few games at Grand Rapids start of the season and went back to Sweden. But he's very close to being an NHL-ready defenseman, just needs to gain strength in that but real good skill, good hockey sense."

Nill isn't as familiar with Janmark since he was in his first season with Dallas when the Red Wings drafted Janmark in the third round (No. 79) in 2013.

Janmark played two regular-season games in the AHL last season and six more in the Calder Cup Playoffs. He is currently playing for AIK in Sweden.

"Real solid, all-around typical Swedish forward. He plays the game the right way both ways; good defensively, good offensively and we look forward to getting him over and seeing where his development's at," Nill said of Janmark.

When asked which of the two prospects is more NHL-ready, Nill didn't hesitate.

"(Backman) was already been over here, got a taste of North America," Nill said. "Are they a year away, a year and a half? I think they're somewhere in there.

"(Janmark) played against Texas a little bit in the playoffs a year ago, but has been mostly over in Sweden. He's in the top I believe, it's 15 in scoring in the Elite League over there, so he's a good young player. They really need to just get over here, get their feet wet and then just start the process."

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