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Stars go heavy on forwards on day two of draft

Stars take four forwards and one goalie, get a goal scorer in left wing Jason Robertson with second-round pick

by Mark Stepneski @StarsInsideEdge / Inside Edge

The Dallas Stars wrapped up the 2017 NHL Draft in Chicago by making five picks Saturday, leaning heavily towards forwards.

After taking high-end defenseman Miro Heiskanen and highly regarded goaltender Jake Oettinger in Friday's first round of the draft, the Stars selected four forwards and one goaltender with their picks on Saturday. There was no grand play with the high number of forwards taken on Saturday. 

"That's just how it works out," said Joe McDonnell, Stars director of amateur scouting. "We're not drafting by position at that point. We are getting what our area guys are thinking, what they like, who they are real strong on."

Overall, it was a good weekend for the Stars. They got Heiskanen, the guy who No. 1 on their draft list. They picked up Oettinger, the goaltender they had ranked highest. Then in the second round (39th overall), they picked up a player they had projected to go in the first round - Jason Robertson, a left wing who scored 42 goals in the Ontario Hockey League last season.

"We had him rated in our first round, and it was the old cliché that we were shocked that he was still available," McDonnell said. "He has some things to work on, and that's why he slid to where he was. We're excited that he brings a lot to the table."

Heiskanen could push for NHL time in a year. Some of the others may be two, three or four years away from turning pro. Overall, the Stars see a lot of potential in the seven players they selected this weekend in Chicago. 

"We're excited, but you have to keep things in perspective," Stars GM Jim Nill said. "We got the players we wanted. We think they all have potential. Now, it is go to work time. I think every team leaves the draft excited. We've got some high-end talent, and it bodes well for the future of the Dallas Stars."

Here's a look at the Dallas picks from day two of the draft.

Jason Robertson, Left Wing (2nd round/39th overall)

Robertson was projected as a possible first-round pick on some lists. The Red Line Report had him ranked ninth overall in the draft and TSN had him 30th. Robertson tallied 81 points (42 goals, 39 assists) in 68 games for Kingston of the Ontario Hockey League and ranked seventh in the league in goal scoring. He tallied 18 points (five goals, 13 assists) in 11 playoff games. The Stars were pleased to get the 6-2, 196-pound forward with the 39th overall pick.

"We knew we were going to get another good player at 39 and it worked out well that we got Jason," said Stars GM Jim Nill. "We're excited. He's a great scorer, and I think he is going to be a good fit for us."

The knock on Robertson is his skating according to some scouting reports.

"He's got a good stride, but if you watched him you'd say his skating would need to improve," said Joe McDonnell, Stars director of amateur scouting. "I think his stride is good enough and I think with some added strength it's just going to get better. His IQ and his hands around the net are pretty good."

Robertson had to sit through Friday night's first round of the draft and then wait until the eighth pick of the second round Saturday morning to hear his name called.

"It's really exciting [to be a Dallas Star]," said Robertson. "The latest 24 hours have been really anxious, exciting to see where you are going to go. To be a Dallas Stars is really an honor."

Robertson added that he was surprised to be taken by the Stars, who didn't interview him at the NHL Combine.

"We had been watching him all year," McDonnell said. "We do snooping around. We do digging. We don't have to interview everybody."

Robertson was born in California and then moved to Detroit. His father, mother, two brothers, and two sisters were with him at the draft.

"It was really exciting to share it with them," Robertson said. "Especially my mom and dad. They have done a lot for me."

Liam Hawel, Center (4th round/101st overall)

Hawel played in for both Sault Ste. Marie and Guelph in the Ontario Hockey League, recording 28 points (nine goals, 19 assists) in 66 games. Hawel also suited up for Canada at the 2017 Under-18 World Championship, registering no points in five games. The 18-year-old is listed at 6-5, 179 pounds and is a right-handed shot.

"He had a tough first half of the year in Sault Ste. Marie. Once he got traded [to Guelph] he started to play a lot more," McDonnell said. "He's a big guy who can skate. He just has to grow into his body and see how it all pans out."

NHL Central Scouting ranked Hawel 142nd among North American skaters and International Scouting services ranked him 173rd among all skaters.

Jacob Peterson, Center (5th round/132nd overall)

Peterson played in Sweden's top junior league last season, registering 27 points (15 goals, 12 assists) in 44 games for Frolunda. Peterson tallied one goal and one assist in seven games for Sweden at the 2017 Under-18 World Championship. The 17-year-old is listed at 6-0, 165 pounds and is a left-handed shot. Stars scout Rickard Oquist played a role in the Stars selecting Peterson.

"He said he is just scratching the surface," McDonnell said. "He's a skinny, skinny kid, one of those typical Swedish guys that are going to take a little bit longer to mature and develop and get stronger. But his hockey IQ and skill is excellent."

NHL Central Scouting ranked Peterson 88th among European skaters, and the Red Line Report had him 231st among all players.

Brett Davis, Center (6th round/163rd overall)

Davis played with both Lethbridge and Kootenay in the Western Hockey League, tallying 33 points (18 goals, 15 assists) in 59 games. He scored 22 points (11 goals, 11 assists) in 30 games after being acquired by Kootenay in early January. The 18-year-old is a left-handed shot and is listed at 6-1, 178 pounds.

"He's not the biggest guy, and he's not small by any means, but he's a real good skater and real good skill set," McDonnell said.

NHL Central Scouting ranked Davis 142nd among North American skaters.

Dylan Ferguson, Goaltender (7th round/194th overall)

Ferguson played 31 games at the No. 2 goaltender for Kamloops in the Western Hockey League, registering a 2.74 goals-against average and .922 save percentage. The 18-year-old is listed at 6-1, 181 pounds.

"I don't think he's a guy a lot of teams saw play," McDonnell said. "He was basically the backup. The only time he played a string of games was during the World Juniors when [the team's No. 1 goalie] was away with Team Canada," McDonnell said. "He didn't get a ton of ice but he had good numbers, and he's going to be their No. 1 guy next year. He's a kid with some skill and ability."

NHL Central Scouting ranked Ferguson 8th among North American goaltenders. 

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 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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