I was watching the Stars-Flames game last night and I was really impressed with one player early in the game. It was #23, Tom Wandell
. I thought he was one of the best players on the ice. He skated, he was creative, he brought energy. As the game went on, I started thinking about this roster and how much it has turned over since the lockout.
We've gotten younger. More importantly, I think we've gotten better.
Les Jackson, who oversees the Stars' scouting system, and Tim Bernhardt, who oversees the Entry Draft, are unsung heroes of stocking a pretty good-looking cupboard here in Dallas, for now and the future.
A large portion of this current team has come via the draft, and a lot of them were not taken in the first round:
Add in some solid first round picks:
Now consider some of the talent drafted by Jackson and Bernhardt that led to some pretty good acquisitions:
- Mike Smith (fifth round, 2001) and Jussi Jokinen (sixth round, 2001) - key parts of a blockbuster trade to acquire Brad Richards in 2008.
- David McIntyre (fifth round, 2006) - traded to Anaheim for Brian Sutherby.
And there were a few older guys (all home-grown) who are big part of this team that weren't on the ice on Friday at Calgary due to either injury or a breather:
- Marty Turco - fifth round, 1994
- Jere Lehtinen - fourth round, 1992
- Mike Modano - first round, 1988
Razor had the stat on the broadcast: without those three players on the ice, the Dallas line-up average age was 26 years, 9 months.
A couple of key players obtained to shrewd draft day moves or picks:
- San Jose calls the Dallas draft table in June, asking for the Stars' 2009 seventh round choice in exchange for the Sharks' sixth round pick next year. Nieuwendyk makes the deal then flips San Jose's pick to Ottawa a few weeks later for Alex Auld.
- Dallas drafts John Erskine (second round) in 1988, trades him to the Island for Janne Niinimaa in January, 2006, then ships Niinimaa to Montreal in September, 2006 for Mike Ribeiro.
That's 17 players of Dallas' current 23-man roster that can be traced back to the Entry Draft or assets acquired through it.
And take a look at what is coming for the future (among others):
- C Scott Glennie (first round, 2009) - some say he'll be great.
- C Tomas Vincour (fifth round, 2009) - impressed at Traverse City this year.
- G Tyler Beskorowany (second round, 2008) - one of the best goaltenders in camp.
- C Scott Winkler (third round, 2008) - good playmaker still developing.
- D Philip Larsen (fifth round, 2008) - could be a very good D and soon.
- D Ivan Vishnevskiy (first round, 2006) - offensive potential from the blue line.
- RW Raymond Sawada (second round, 2004) - size and potential, good character.
This is a pretty good team that is fun to watch and don't look now, but the organization has more depth now than it has had in quite some time. Should be fun to watch.