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Shining bright: Which Stars prospects stood out in Traverse City?

DallasStars.com's Mark Stepneski gives his take on how the team's blossoming players fared at the tournament

by Mark Stepneski @StarsInsideEdge / Inside Edge

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. -- The Dallas Stars closed out the NHL Prospect Tournament with a 7-3 win over the Carolina Hurricanes, securing fifth place with a 2-1-1 record.

Defenseman Ben Gleason scored two goals and forwards Tony Calderone, Brett Davis, and Sam Laberge all chipped in with one goal and one assist. Goaltender Anthony Popovich stopped 35 of 38 shots.

The Stars rested several top players including defenseman Miro Heiskanen, center Roope Hintz, and goaltender Colton Point.

Tweet from @Gwilkers96: I would be shocked if Gleason does not get some sort of contract. Here's a highlight reel goal. @seanshapiro @StarsInsideEdge #Stars pic.twitter.com/HUBwb5dMUt

"I thought our group put in a pretty good effort. That was a pretty deep team over there with Carolina. You're looking at the (2nd overall pick in 2018 Andrei Svechnikov and Martin Necas the 12th overall pick last year)," said Texas Stars coach Derek Laxdal, who coached the Dallas prospects at the tournament.

"I liked the way our guys played. I thought they played a real solid team game. We moved our feet and had good speed to our game."

Tweet from @Gwilkers96: Gleason again. This time on the power play. #Stars @seanshapiro @StarsInsideEdge pic.twitter.com/kFpDv54gLx

After Calderone and Gleason staked the Stars to a 2-0 lead, Carolina tied the game with two goals late in the first period. The Stars blew the game open in the second with goals by Davis, James Phelan, and a power-play tally by Gleason.

Laberge scored shorthanded in the third to make it 6-2, and after Carolina scored to cut the lead to 6-3, Dallas defenseman John Nyberg scored to make it a 7-3 final.

Robertson led Dallas in scoring with nine points (two goals, seven assists) at the tournament. Heiskanen was tops with three goals.

 

Stepneski's scoop

Here are thoughts on some of the players who suited up for Dallas at the NHL Prospect Tournament in Traverse City.

 

Miro Heiskanen, D

As advertised. Heiskanen (1st round/3rd overall - 2017) looked very impressive and, at times, a cut above, in Traverse City where there a lot of good prospects including guys who have seen a little NHL time. He's a great skater, makes sharp passes, creates offensively, and defends well. There's a belief he will thrive once he gets to play with NHL players because of the way he thinks the game. There may be a few bumps along the road in the NHL, but he's the full package. He looks NHL ready.

 

Roope Hintz, C

Hintz (2nd round/49th overall - 2015) showed well in Traverse City. You can see the improvement from one year ago when he played here for the first time. He looked on a par with top prospects who are expected to play in the NHL. He's got size, speed, makes crisp passes, and can shoot. He's coming off a good first season the AHL and should be able to make a good push for a roster spot in Dallas Stars training camp. He's close to being NHL ready.

 

Jason Robertson, RW

Robertson (2nd round/39th overall - 2017) was outstanding. You can see the strides he has made over the past year. He's been working out with training guru Gary Roberts, and it's paid off. Robertson has improved his skating and at times is not pretty when moving around, but he gets where he needs to be, has great offensive instincts and can finish. The more you move up as far as playing level, the tougher it gets, but Robertson, who will play one more year of juniors, is heading in the right direction.

 

Ty Dellandrea, C

Dellandrea (1st round/13th overall - 2018) got better with each game in Traverse City. He is a solid player who seems to do all the little things right. He almost always seems to be in the right place and makes the smart play. He plays well in all three zones. He doesn't shy away from the physical stuff, wins his share of puck battles and competes every shift. He is not flashy, but there is some good skill there. He is just a good player. A good, consistent player. 

 

Adam Mascherin, LW

Mascherin (4th round/100th overall - 2018) looks like a good pick for the Stars. A second-round pick by Florida in 2016, he couldn't agree to a contract with the Panthers, re-entered the draft, and the Stars took him in the fourth round this summer. He's got a nose for offense and a great shot. Probably needs to round out his overall game, but he's got some impressive offensive tools. He turns pro this season and will play in the AHL.

 

Nick Caamano, LW

Caamano (5th round/146th overall - 2016) is another player who has made some good progress over the past year. A trade within the Ontario Hockey League last season that sent him from Flint to Hamilton helped him develop his overall game. He played a physical game in Traverse City, got under the opponent's skin at times. He's a good skater, has a good skillset, possesses some offensive ability and plays a well-rounded game. He turns pro this season and is expected to play for the Texas Stars.

 

Colton Point, G

Point (5th round/128th overall - 2016), who will turn pro this season after a big season at Colgate University, had his ups and downs in Traverse City. He was sharp at times, there were some adventures, and there were probably a few goals he'd like to have back. But he's only 20 and just starting to get acclimated to the game at the next level. He has a lot of good tools including size (6-4, 220 pounds). The big question is if he starts in the AHL or ECHL. That's still up in the air.

 

Tony Calderone, RW

The Stars signed Calderone (free agent - 2018) last spring out of the University of Michigan where he scored 25 goals in 40 games last year. He can shoot the puck. You could see it in practice in Traverse City, and you could see it in the games. He's a player with good offensive instincts. Calderone, who turns 24 next month, played three games with the Texas Stars late last season and should be a good player for Texas this season.

 

John Nyberg, D 

Nyberg (6th round/165th overall - 2014) comes to North America after two years with Frolunda in Sweden's top league where he's shown some big improvement. He's a good two-way defenseman who can make a good first pass, has some offensive ability and defends well. He plays with a bit of an edge and seems to irritate opponents. Nyberg will play in the AHL this season and has a chance to put himself in a position to possibly play in the NHL sometime down the road.

 

Jakob Stenqvist, D

Stenqvist (6th round/176th overall - 2016) is an intriguing prospect. The Stars brought him over from Sweden to play in Traverse City, and it paid off. Stenqvist was scheduled to go back to Sweden after Traverse City but played well enough to earn himself an invitation to Dallas training camp. He's a slick skater with some high-level skill and good offensive instincts. He has some work to do on the defensive side of things, especially in battles but that will come with adding some strength. But he has skill and thinks the game well.

 

Other notables

  • Ben Gleason, a free-agent tryout on defense, turned some heads at the tournament. He is a talented player with some offensive ability.

  • Riley Damiani, the fifth-round pick in 2018, is generously listed at 5-foot-9, but he's got some quickness and is relentless on pucks.

  • You can see why the Stars signed forward Joel L'Esperance as a free agent over the summer. L'Esperance, who joined the Texas Stars late last season after his college career concluded and was a part of the Calder Cup run, has a nice mix of size and skill.

  • I liked forward Jermaine Loewen, the seventh-round pick in this summer's draft. I didn't know what to expect, but he skates well, is physical and made an impact in the games he played. Still a raw prospect though.

  • Forward Curtis Douglas, the fourth-round pick in 2018, gets around pretty well for a guy that is listed at 6-8, 248 pounds. Like Loewen, he is still a raw prospect, but those two were fun to watch on a line together.

  • Defenseman Niklas Hansson, a third-round pick in 2013, played with a lot of confidence, especially on the offensive side of things. He still has some issues on defense. He played last year in the AHL but couldn't crack the Texas lineup during the Calder Cup Playoffs.

  • Defenseman Ondrej Vala, a free agent signing in 2016, drew some praise from Texas Stars coach Derek Laxdal. Vala will turn pro this year and should be in the mix to play for Texas.

  • Forward Brett Davis, a sixth-round pick in 2017, was quiet early in the tournament but played well on Tuesday. It didn't hurt that he got bumped up the lineup to play with Caamano and Calderone. Davis can skate and has some skill.

  • Forward Liam Hawel, a fourth-round pick in 2017, only played two games but was more noticeable on Tuesday centering Douglas and Loewen. There's some skill there.

  • Defenseman Dawson Barteaux, a sixth-round pick in 2018, only played two games, but he's a good skater and moves the puck well.

Photo credits: Dave Reginek / Detroit Red Wings and Tim Heitman / Dallas Stars

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

Mark Stepneski has covered the Stars for DallasStars.com since 2012. Follow him on Twitter @StarsInsideEdge.

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