After the Star’s top 10 ( theme of my previous article ) one can still find some quality prospects that have legitimate NHL potential. In my opinion, this is what makes the Dallas system an upper echelon prospect pool. Below are some of my thoughts on these emerging players, which also includes their current statistics.
Please email me with your thoughts & comments ( My next article will be on the “Star’s Long-shot Prospects”)
Tyler Bouck – RW 6-0 185lbs
Tyler’s game is based primarily around his most obvious strength, and that is speed. Able to skate as fast as almost anyone, this kid’s wheels make him very dangerous. On the other hand, he hasn’t found a consistent scoring knack yet, although his skills are well rounded enough. In order to compensate for this he has developed a good defensive game, and has added a physical, “in-your-face” style as well. With his two-way play, battle level, skating, and solid skills, Tyler projects to a 2nd or 3rd line checking winger that can score some goals. His goal scoring upside could be higher, but somewhere around 15-20 goals seems logical at this point. Often compared to Darren McCarty for his physical style, the Stars could definitely use the speed and grit Tyler would provide.
Prince George (WHL)GP-56G-22A-25PTS-47PIM-178+/- 8
WJC (CAN)GP-7G-1A-0PTS-1PIM-2+/- 3
Marcus Kristofferson – RW 6-3 200lbs
At 20 years of age Marcus is playing for HV-71 in the Swedish Elite League, quite an accomplishment for someone that young. Although his playing time has been next to nothing, he has shown himself to be a very physical player, utilizing his 6-3 200lbs frame. However, after being chosen to the WJC squad, Marcus showed everyone his great potential as a skilled player too. Leading team Sweden in points for most of the tournament, and being named “player of the game” twice, he showed excellent hands, good skating, and of course physical power. In all, his future looks bright as a skilled power-winger, and the Stars are certainly monitoring his development in Sweden. If he continues to struggle for ice-time then Dallas may consider moving him to North America to further his progress.
HV-71 (SWE)GP-34G-0A-1PTS-1PIM-65+/- -18
WJC (SWE)GP-6G-3A-4PTS-7PIM-33+/- even
Gabriel Karlsson – C 6-1 190lbs
Like Marcus Kristofferson, Gabriel also plays for HV-71 at the tender of age 20. He also was selected to be on the Swedish WJC team, and went on to turn in a stellar performance. While there he displayed excellent hands, and bagged 5 goals in 5 games as a result. Besides his hands, Gabriel shows great agility, good speed, and the ability to handle tight checking by opponents. On top of this nice package of skills is the fact that he also plays a very good two-way game. With his skills and potential as a complete player, Gabriel looks like a future 25goal scorer, and the Star’s long-term answer at 2nd line center. He too is getting little ice-time with HV-71, and Dallas will make sure that his development is not stalled.
HV-71 (SWE)GP-33G-2A-1PTS-3PIM-2+/- -2
WJC (SWE)GP-5G-5A-1PTS-6PIM-2+/- 1
Steve Gainey – LW/C 6-1 180lbs
Considered by many a drastic reach in the 1997 Draft, as the CSB ranked him #173 and yet he was taken with the 77th pick. However, since last season Steve’s play has quieted all the critics, and he is now considered a very solid prospect. Even other organizations are taking note, most notably San Jose GM Dean Lombardi who went as far as to call Steve the most improved player from the ’97 Draft. The improvement can be seen in his puck pursuit, offensive output, two-way play, and increased physical presence. Although improved, he still must work on his skating stride, and his body must mature more as well. It will be interesting to see how high this guy’s ceiling is, but a 10-15 goal 3rd liner is a sound projection. He will turn pro next season, and should contend for a roster spot in about two years.
Kamloops (WHL)GP-67G-28A-34PTS-62PIM-155+/- 35
Niko Kapanen – LW/C 5-9 180lbs
This guy can flat out play, and the NHL is not out of the question as his next stop. Much like his brother Sami, Niko possess very good speed, grit, and skill. Combine all that with defensive awareness and you have a potential two-way gem. Although he was passed over in the ’97 Draft because of size, the Stars decided to take him with the 173rd pick in 1998. While size is still a concern at this point, Niko plays big and aggressive, which bodes well for adaptation to North American hockey. He should get a shot to make the roster in a couple of years, and I consider him the biggest “sleeper” in the Star’s system so far.
HPK (FIN)GP-50G-12A-28PTS-40PIM-49+/- 13
Teemu Elomo – LW 5-11 175lbs
Most recently known for his celebrations at the 1998 WJC, Teemu is more than just a showboat. He possesses great speed, good hands, and a creative flare that the Star’s system generally lacks. What he doesn’t possess however is consistent play in his own end, and that must improve in order to have a shot with the Stars. If Teemu makes the NHL it will be for his offensive skills, and thus he will have to play on one of the top scoring lines to be effective. If not, then you are probably looking at the second coming of Jarko Varvio. Should get his shot at a roster spot in about two years as well, and will get every opportunity to earn it based on his high skill level. Was recently hurt, and will miss the remainder of the season due to an injured leg.
WJC (FIN)GP-6G-2A-1PTS-3PIM-4+/- 1