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Ready for Anything

Stars scouting staff prepared to be on their toes as trades, other twists are possible at 2017 NHL Draft

by Mark Stepneski @StarsInsideEdge / Inside Edge

Dallas Stars director of amateur scouting Joe McDonnell and the team's scouts have assembled a list of 200 prospects for the upcoming NHL Draft. And they like the chances of them getting some good players for down the road.  

There are no so-called generational players in this year's draft. There is no Connor McDavid. No Auston Matthews. But McDonnell sees a good draft in which the Stars have eight picks, including two in the first round (third overall and 29th overall) and a pick high in the second round (39th overall).

"It's good," McDonnell said of the draft. "It goes pretty deep into the first round, and it goes deep into the second and third rounds as well."

The third overall pick garners most of the attention. The Stars secured that pick at the NHL Draft Lottery in late April, getting the right combination of numbers to move up five spots from the eighth overall pick to the number three spot. It's the highest pick for the Stars since they moved to Dallas and the highest for the franchise since Mike Modano went first overall in 1988.

That third pick is also a good asset for Stars GM Jim Nill, who has said he would be willing to trade it for an established player. The possibility of Nill moving that third pick or others picks has McDonnell and his staff ready for anything.

"He's keeping us on our toes, that's for sure," McDonnell said. "We have to make sure that we have our list in order. We know that we are going to get a good player at three, but if we have to trade down, we have to make sure everything is in order with that. I think with the expansion draft, anything can happen in the next couple days. It's going to be really exciting right up to when we get to make our pick, whether it is at three or whatever number it might be."

If the Stars hold onto that third overall pick, McDonnell again will be prepared for anything. New Jersey and Philadelphia hold the top two picks, and the consensus seems to be that centers Nolan Patrick and Nico Hischier will be the first two players selected, although it's unclear which one goes first. McDonnell isn't so sure and believes there is a possibility someone other than Patrick or Hischier could end up being selected in the top two. 

"We have our top three in order, but I am not convinced that the consensus everybody has going at those two positions is going to happen," McDonnell said. "We are keeping our options open. We are going to see what falls to us at three or what is going to come up to us at three."

The only thing we know at this point is what the Stars won't do if they are on the clock with the third overall pick. 

"Obviously, it's not going to be a goaltender with that pick at three," McDonnell said. "But it could be a forward or a defenseman."

Some of the top prospects ranked just behind Patrick and Hischier are defensemen Miro Heiskanen and Cale Makar and centers Gabe Vilardi, Casey Mittelstadt, and Cody Glass to name a few.

This will be McDonnell's fourth year running the Dallas draft. In the first three, the Stars have selected seven forwards, ten defensemen and three goaltenders. Over the past five years, the Stars have selected 18 forwards, 18 defensemen and five goaltenders. McDonnell doesn't see a pressing need in any area of the prospect pool, but the team is always looking for help at all positions.

"I think we are pretty deep in all areas," McDonnell said of the team's prospect pool. "You'd love to have more goal scoring, you'd love to have more top two defensemen, and you'd love to have a number one goalie. But these kids are two or three years away for the most part. We are looking at all positions, and we're going to try to make an educated guess on what is going to help us down the road in one of those three categories."

The 2017 NHL Draft is in Chicago with round one on Friday, June 23 and rounds two through seven on Saturday, June 24.

Dallas Draft Picks

Here are the Dallas Stars draft picks in the 2017 NHL Draft. As of right now, the Stars have eight picks including two picks in the first round and one in each of the other six rounds.

1st round: (3rd overall)

1st round: (29th overall)

2nd round: (39th overall)

3rd round: (70th overall)

4th round: (101st overall)

5th round: (132nd overall)

6th round: (163rd overall)

7th round: (194th overall)

This story was not subject to approval of the National Hockey League or Dallas Stars Hockey Club. Mark Stepneski is an independent writer whose posts on DallasStars.com reflect his own opinions and do not represent official statements from the Dallas Stars. You can follow Mark on Twitter @StarsInsideEdge.

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