It was hard not to notice Remi Elie in the final scrimmage at the Dallas Stars’ recent development camp in Frisco. He was dominant at times. Stars GM Jim Nill noticed and saw it as proof of the progress the young forward is making.
“We like where he’s come from. He’s taken his game to another level,” Nill said. “You’ve seen every development camp here. First development camp they are young kids trying to figure it out. Second camp he was better. I think this last one he was like a man out there.”
Elie’s progress goes beyond development camps. The Stars like the growth Elie has shown in his junior career since the team picked him in the 2013 NHL Draft. Elie was coming off his rookie season with London of the Ontario Hockey League. He didn’t see a lot of playing time that season and had just 17 points (7 goals, 10 assists) in 65 games. NHL Central Scouting had him ranked 71st among North American Skaters for the draft. International Scouting Services ranked him 108th among all players and Red Line Report had him 120th. But the Stars saw plenty of potential in Elie and grabbed him with the 40th overall pick.
“He’s a talented kid,” Stars assistant GM Les Jackson said at the time. “I think next year you’ll see a big bump in his game. He’s a pretty gifted kid.”
Elie didn’t disappoint. In 2013-14, he tallied 68 points (29 goals, 39 assists) in 67 games playing for London and Bellville, which acquired him early in the season. This past season he registered 76 points (30 goals, 46 assists) in 63 games with Belleville and Erie, which acquired him prior to the OHL’s trade deadline.
“I went to a strong team with a lot of skill,” Elie said of the trade to Erie. “I was playing with Connor McDavid and Dylan Strome, Travis Dermott, all skilled players that got drafted this year. It was a lot of skill, a lot of speed, and it helped my game to play with those guys.”
The 20-year-old left wing played 28 games with Erie, registering 42 points (16 goals, 26 assists). He picked up points in 24 of those 28 games and notched 12 multi-point games. He saw playing time with McDavid, the first overall pick in this year’s NHL Draft.
“Coaches don’t put you with a guy just because you are a good guy. You are doing something right. Coaches want to win,” said Nill. “The coaches raved about [Elie]. They said he does everything right on the ice. He backchecks. He’s the first guy getting it out; he’s the first guy getting it in.”
Elie tied for second in playoff scoring for Erie with 23 points (4 goals, 19 assists) in 19 games as the Otters advanced to the OHL championship series, where they fell to the Oshawa Generals.
“We went far in the playoffs and lost in the finals, but overall it was a great season,” Elie said. “I thought I had a great season.”
OHL coaches voted Elie as the hardest worker in the Western Conference and among the best penalty killers in the conference as well. The 6-1, 205-pound forward plays a physical, gritty game and brings some skill to the mix as well.
“My shot, my physicality and my speed [are my best attributes],” Elie said. “I am a power forward.”
Elie is expected to turn pro this season and should play for the Texas Stars of the AHL. He will be among a strong group of Dallas forward prospects heading to the AHL this season that also includes 2013 first-round pick Jason Dickinson and 2012 second-round pick Devin Shore. Elie isn’t taking anything for granted.
“I am just going to try to do my best,” he said. “I am expecting hard work and it is going to be hard to make the Texas Stars. I’ll go from there.”
The Stars are high on Elie and think he is well-equipped to make the jump to the next level after taking big strides over the past two years.
“Remi has gotten stronger. I’m amazed at the size of his trunk, and his legs are just huge,” Nill said. “He’s a great example of why you love the business. To see guys get better. They are a sponge, and they figure it out. He’s done that. He’s grabbed that.”
This story was not subject to the 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.