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Development Camp Wrap-Up: Forwards

by Mark Stepneski / Dallas Stars

Now that the Dallas Stars development camp has ended, here is a recap of where some of the team’s top prospects stand after working out for more than a week in Frisco.

Stars Director of Player Personnel Les Jackson and Player Development Coordinator J.J. McQueen shared their thoughts on players.

This installment looks at some of the team’s top prospects at forward.

Alex Chiasson

Age: 21

Drafted 2nd round (38th overall) 2009

2011-12 Team: Boston University (Hockey East)/Texas (AHL)

Chiasson, coming off a three-year career at Boston University, enters his first full pro season in 2012-13. He spent the end of last season with the Texas Stars, picking up one goal and four assists in nine games. The 6-3 right wing said he’s up to 205 pounds and hopes to add more weight by the end of the summer.

Jackson: “He’s really a mature kid. He has a great work ethic. He has a good set of hands, is a physical guy, a big guy. I think all he has to do is gain some experience at the American League level and adjust to the pro style of game. He has NHL written all over him. It’s just a matter of time and experience, and he has a chance at the big team.”

McQueen: “He’s exactly where I thought he was going to be. He’s a very focused individual. He’s a professional already, very organized, knows exactly what he needs to get done and he spends the time to do it. After his season in Austin, we set some goals. We want to put a little weight on him and improve his leg strength. That’s exactly what he did. By September we hope to put another five or six solid pounds on him.

Radek Faksa

Age: 18

Drafted 1st round (13th overall) 2012

2011-12 Team: Kitchener (OHL)

Faksa, the Stars’ first round pick in 2012, led all Ontario Hockey League rookies in goals (29), assists (37) and points (66). He signed an entry level contract with the Stars at the beginning of development camp.

Jackson: “He was a top player in junior and it’s just a matter of him playing, maturing and getting stronger. It’s a lot of things 18-year-old kids have to go through. His ability and his instincts for the game are high-end. I suspect going back to Kitchener this year he’ll get great coaching and lots of opportunities to play. This kid is going to grow and get better each day. He was very impressive here. I suspect he’ll be a go-to guy for Kitchener and be one of the better players in the Ontario League.”

McQueen: “When you see him on the ice he’s very skilled, but he hasn’t had the opportunity to do a lot of off-ice training. I’ll spend some time, four or five days, with him up in Canada after he comes back from Czech Republic. He’s naturally strong, which is kind of scary. Once he learns some techniques, he is going to be that much better. He’s very focused and a quick study.”

Scott Glennie

Age: 21

Drafted 1st round (8th overall) 2009

2011-12 Team: Texas (AHL)/Dallas (NHL)

Glennie played his first full pro season in 2011-12, registering 37 points (12 goals, 25 assists) in 70 games with the AHL’s Texas Stars. He also made his NHL debut, playing in the Dallas Stars’ regular season finale against St. Louis.

Jackson: “He had a good first learning year in Texas. He’s a talented, smart player. He understands the game; he thinks the game really well. He has the ability to work within the structure of the game and find good plays and make good plays. He defends well and he reads what’s going on in the game and reacts quickly. I think he had a good first year and I think his challenge will be maturity, growing and accepting the challenge of being a good pro every day.”

McQueen: “He’s coming along and he’s working at his craft. He needs to work his upper body and get a little stronger in his legs. He’s training with a guy in Winnipeg along with (Ryan) Garbutt and Cody Eakin. He’s working to get stronger and we’d like him to continue on that path.”

Emil Molin

Age: 19

Drafted 4th round (105th overall) 2011

2011-12 Team: Brynas (Sweden)

Molin split time between juniors and the Swedish Elite League last season. He had one assist in ten playoff games as Brynas won the Elite League championship. Molin signed an entry level contract with the Stars in June.

Jackson: “He finished the season in the Swedish Elite League. He’s a slippery, skilled, talented offensive player. He has puck poise and the ability to find plays that a lot of players can’t find. I think this kid has huge upside. He’s a tremendous talent. There is great promise and potential there. He’ll go back to Sweden and play with Brynas again and I suspect you are going to see some good things coming from this kid in the future.”

McQueen: “I went to see him in Sweden last year and we set some goals, get some stronger legs and put some weight on. He put on about 11 pounds, which doesn’t seem like a lot, but with a young kid that is pure strength. If you see him, he’s pretty lean and there’s no fat there. He needs to grow, some of it is through nutrition and training, but there is a maturity thing, too. I’ve met his dad, who is one of his coaches, and he’s got big legs and a strong core. You suspect Emil will fall in the same framework.”

Brett Ritchie

Age: 19

Drafted 2nd round (44th overall) 2011

2011-12 Team: Sarnia/Niagara (OHL)

Ritchie started last season with Sarnia of the OHL and was traded to Niagara, where he put up 28 points (16 goals, 12 assists) in 29 games and went to the OHL finals. He signed an entry level contract with the Stars during development camp.

Jackson: “He’s got all the tools to be a really good player. He’s a big man who can skate, handle the puck and has a good shot. He’ll go back to junior and I am sure he’ll play a big role with Niagara this year, be one of their go-to players. He keeps getting better. He just has to play and keep improving. He has a fantastic base. It will be interesting to see how he grows and matures through this season.”

McQueen: “From last year to this year he’s probably made the most gains. He was injured a bit at the beginning of the year but he came back from the injury and he’s gotten bigger, stronger and quicker. He’s going to spend four or five weeks with Gary Roberts in Toronto. That will be good for him.”

Austin Smith

Age: 23

Drafted 5th round (128th overall) 2007

2011-12 Team: Colgate (ECAC)/Texas Stars (AHL)

Smith wrapped up a four-year career at Colgate last season and was one of three finalists for the Hobey Baker Award after leading the nation in goal scoring with 36 in 39 games. He played 12 games with the Texas Stars of the AHL last season as well, picking up three assists.

Jackson: “Smitty is a determined kid. He takes everyday as a tryout. He plays hard, he wants to get better every shift, every game, every day. He’s got a huge heart and a huge desire to be a player. He’ll be an interesting guy to watch entering his first full season in the American League.”

McQueen: “We just need to get a little bit more size on him. He is what he is. He’s a strong kid, but we just need to a get a little more size on him. He’s a quick skater and he’s got all the tools in that area. He needs the size to protect himself over the grind of the number of games you play in the NHL and AHL. He’s chipping away at it, but it’s a slow process.”

Reilly Smith

Age: 21

Drafted 3rd round (69th overall) 2009

2011-12 Team: Miami (CCHA)/Dallas (NHL)

Smith played three years at Miami University and scored 30 goals in 39 games last season, ranking second in the nation. He signed a contract with Dallas last March and played three NHL games. Smith, who was listed at 157 pounds when the Stars drafted him, said he is now 192 pounds.

Jackson: “It’s just a matter of him adjusting to the pro game. He’s got all the tools offensively, he’s got the attitude and he works. He’s an intriguing player. He’s got great hands, excellent instincts, he knows how to play and he has a great upside offensively. He’s going to be fun and interesting to watch.”

McQueen: “In college you have a structured program where you have an opportunity to work out. You play two games a week and you have time to train. He took advantage of that. Each year he has gotten stronger and stronger. He’s actually a lot stronger than he looks. He’s a kid we can put a little more weight on just on the protection side.”

Matej Stransky

Age: 19

Drafted 6th round (165th overall) 2011

2011-12 Team: Saskatoon (WHL)

Stransky, who signed an entry level contract with the Stars in April, put up impressive numbers in the WHL last season, registering 81 points (39 goals, 42 assists) in 70 games.

Jackson: “Stransky is really an impressive player. He’s a big man and an elusive, slippery forward. He has great puck skills and a nose for the net. He’s made some good strides and that’s a credit to the people in Saskatoon. Lorne Molleken (Saskatoon GM/head coach) has done a wonderful job with him. I think he’s got to become more responsible in the 200-foot part of the game, play both sides of the puck and become a little more responsible defensively. He’s got unique skill. There’s some work to do, but the foundation is pretty impressive.”

McQueen: “He spent a week with me after his season and before he went back to Czech. We set some goals to improve his leg strength and get some weight. He surpassed that. He’s probably ahead of where we thought he would be. We are really pleased with the effort that he put in.”

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