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Stars look long-term with picks

by John Kreiser

OTTAWA --  The Dallas Stars think they got their first-round pick last month, so not having a No. 1 pick in the Entry Draft was not a big problem.

The Stars dealt their first-round pick to Los Angeles at the trade deadline for veteran defenseman Mattias Norstrom, who gave Dallas a lift with a pair of key playoff goals and helped the Stars advance to the Western Conference Finals before losing in six games. Norstrom announced his retirement earlier this month.

For all intents, the Stars got a first-round pick when they acquired the rights to Swedish forward Fabian Brunnstrom last month. Brunnstrom, who was pursued by several teams, could make the roster this fall.

The Stars also dealt their first-rounder last year, so not having a high pick – or even many picks – was no big deal to co-GM Les Jackson.

 "We lacked the pieces to do anything big," he said. "It's not really any different than last season. We had to sit out the first round last season, and we still felt like we were able to make good picks."

Here's a look at the Stars' 2008 NHL Entry Draft class:

No. 59, Tyler Beskorowany, G, Owen Sound (OHL) - The Stars looked beyond the stats in selecting Beskorowany, who had a goals-against average of 4.04 and a .900 save percentage in 35 games with Owen Sound, one of the OHL's weakest teams.

The lefty-catching netminder is 6-foot-4 and 203 pounds and will take a couple of years to be ready to compete for an NHL job.

“Tyler is a big player who is technically sound and has a real good understanding of the goaltender position," said Tim Bernhardt, the Stars’ chief amateur scout. "He has good athleticism and lots of room for potential development."

Former NHLer Rob DiMaio, now a Dallas scout, said he likes Beskorowany's glove hand and his size, as well as the way he competed for a bad team this season.
No. 89, Scott Winkler, C, Russell Stover (U.S. Midget) - Winkler, a Norwegian playing in the U.S., has the size (6-foot-2, 195 pounds) and stats (40-52-92 in 70 games) to indicate that he could become an NHL player. He has committed to attending Colorado College this fall after a superb season with Russell Stover, a Midget program based in Kansas City.
No. 149, Philip Larsen, D, Frolunda (Sweden)  - The Stars used their fifth-round pick to take Larsen, a Danish native who played for Frolunda last season, going scoreless in 16 games. Still, the fact that he was able to play in the Elite League at age 18 is impressive. At 5-11 and 185 pounds, he'll have to grow physically before the Stars think about bringing him over.

No. 176, Matthew Tassone, C, Swift Current (WHL) - At six feet tall and 200 pounds, Tassone has the size to be a physical forward, and he showed great improvement in his second WHL season, scoring 19 goals and 36 points in 60 games. The Edmonton native will likely spend two more seasons in juniors.

No. 209, Mike Bergin, D, Smith Falls (CJHL) - Bergin, who turns 20 next week and was drafted in his hometown of Kanata, Ontario, is headed for RPI and is expected to contribute right away after a good offensive season for Smiths Falls of the CJHL. The 6-foot-3, 197-pounder had 14 goals and 41 points in 45 games.

Author: John Kreiser | Columnist

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