For all the well-deserved credit the Stars scouting staff gets for finding the 20-something core of this team, the development group has played just as significant a role.

That was clear this week as the franchise hosted its development camp in Frisco and helped put a true group of “Lads in Victory Green” on the right path. Led by a group that includes “Player Development” leaders Rich Peverley, J.J. McQueen, Ben Bishop, and Par Johansson, and run by the AHL coaching staff, Comerica Center was buzzing with activity for four days. Among the 32 players the Stars invited were the three draft picks taken in Vegas last week, as well as a group of players who were drafted previously, found their way into the franchise as free agents, or were just invited for a look-see.

“It’s incredible,” said Peverley, the Director of Player Development. “I can’t say enough about getting everybody into Dallas and getting everyone to meet the hockey operations staff, the coaching staff, the AHL coaches. This is the start of the process for them. It’s just the first step for a lot of these guys, but it’s important.”

Rich Peverley talks about the Stars' Development Camp

William Samuelsson was taken in the seventh round, so he wasn’t at the draft Saturday. However, he made it to the camp, and that’s important for a player who has just three seasons in the Swedish Junior League under his belt.

“You learn about everything to become a professional player,” said Samuelsson, who is the son of former NHL player Mikael Samuelsson. “They really give you everything here.”

McQueen has worked with the franchise for the past 30 years and has a big hand in communicating with the players. Peverley said the process has changed so much because of advances in technology.

“It’s changed a lot,” Peverley said. “When I started doing this, it was phone calls and text messages and now there’s all kinds of aps you can use. It’s a big learning step for them and we want to help them as much as we can. It’s another communication piece and I think it’s great.”

While the players get all sorts of information both on the ice and in meetings, the goal is to use this week to set up the rest of the summer, and really the rest of the year. Lessons are given in diet, workouts, rest, recovery, and areas of life that are important whether you’re 18 or 21. Players say the information really can make a difference.

“The staff here is fantastic,” said defenseman Gavin White, who was drafted in 2022 and played in the AHL last season. “They tell you exactly what to do to get better and they have a great support staff to help you with it. They keep pretty close tabs on you, which is a good thing. I think that’s really big for us heading into our first couple years of pro.”

Gavin White on his goals for this season

White said the step to becoming a pro is a big one. He moved from Ontario to Cedar Park and lived on his own for the first time. Many players share apartments, but that’s a lot different from having a billet family that helps take care of cooking or cleaning. That’s another part of the development game. While players have juggled hockey and school in most cases, this now becomes their job, and the focus is 24-7.

“It’s a bit of a change of pace, for sure,” White said. “It’s every kid’s dream, and when you get here it makes you want to work even harder to make it to the big show one day. I think it’s a process of adding little things here and there because everybody is so good at this level and keep chipping away every day and eventually hopefully getting there.”

Dallas has produced some very good young players who are currently excelling. Miro Heiskanen, Jason Robertson and Jake Oettinger were taken in the 2017 draft and each have become key leaders. In the next group the Stars have Thomas Harley, Wyatt Johnston, Logan Stankoven and Mavrik Bourque. Each in recent years has been among the best players in Major Junior Hockey.

“They’re people I look up to and try to follow their path,” said defenseman Tristan Bertucci, who was drafted in 2023 and is slated to go back to the OHL this season. “It’s a great prospect pool. Guys like Stankoven and Bourque were here [at development camp] and now they’re going to be up their full-time, and that’s exciting.”

Tristan Bertucci on his first AHL game

Peverley said he enjoys seeing the players compete against one another because that’s a big part of learning to be a pro.

“They have to go out and take a job from someone else. That’s essentially what it is,” Peverley said. “We want to create competition. That’s going to make everyone better and make us a better team.”

This story was not subject to the approval of the National Hockey League or Dallas Stars Hockey Club.

Mike Heika is a Senior Staff Writer for DallasStars.com and has covered the Stars since 1994. Follow him on Twitter @MikeHeika.