Below is a listing of what I feel are the Stars longshot prospects in the coming years. Most should be recognizable names, and yet a couple maybe totally new to you, but each has a few skills that make them interesting. (Please email me with any thoughts, questions, or comments.) The next article will include some brief comments on the Stars “other” prospects, potential ’99 draft picks, and random thoughts on the team’s state.
John Erskine-D6-4 200lbs.
Ranked higher on the Star’s depth chart by many, but I feel that John’s future in the NHL is not with the Dallas organization. First reason being that the Stars play an attacking style that calls for pinching by the D-men, and thus requires a good bit of mobility to maintain proper positioning. This style is not conducive to John, as he is a relatively poor skater that thrives in a more “controlled” stay-at-home posture. Secondly, the Stars have a good collection of defensemen in the minors, all of which are more talented than he. On the other hand, he does have a huge body, an ability to really fight, and the work ethic to improve his game. While I could be wrong about his future, as Craig Ludwig is still hanging around, my feeling is that he is trade bait, and no more than a support player for another team.
LONDON ( OHL )GP-57G-8A-12PTS-20PIM-208+/- 21
Marty Flichel-RW5-11 175lbs.
A very low draft pick (’94-222nd ) that has hung around the Star’s system for a few years now. He first started out in the ECHL, and by the end of his first year he found himself with the K-Wings. Known for his agility and quickness, Marty has become a good checking winger and penalty-killer during his stint in Kalamazoo. Does show decent hands and the ability to create for others, but truly lacks the strength necessary for the NHL at this stage. I like this guy, and wish him nothing but good, but the Stars are not likely to use him because of their depth at RW. Could find a 4th line job with one of the upcoming expansion teams though.
K-WINGS ( IHL )GP-65G-15A-28PTS-43PIM-53
Per Svartvadet-LW/C6-1 200lbs.
Has good size, and is the captain of MoDo, one of the top clubs in Sweden. With this size Per plays a solid two-way game, and has shown decent offensive skills too. While these skills are apparent, so is the fact that his future is on one of the checking lines with the Stars. Could fit into the Star’s plans because of his team first attitude, and his good work ethic. On the other hand, he could find a roster spot tough to obtain since the Stars have many good checking forwards. Is one of the few longshots that has a shot with the Dallas organization in the near future.
MODO ( SWE )GP-50G-9A-23PTS-32PIM-30+/- 8
Manny Fernandez-G5-11 175lbs.
Is currently having an unbelievable year in the IHL, and has seemed to raise his play to another level. Always known for his good reflexes, Manny is now starting to add some patience to his game as well. Although these improvements are noticeable, so is the fact that Marty Turco is better. This alone keeps Manny off the “emerging” list, and makes his future with the Stars doubtful. Should find employment in the NHL through expansion, and will probably be a serviceable backup somewhere.
HOUSTON ( IHL )W- 32 L- 5 SOL- 9 GA- 2.32 %- 0.916
Ryan Christie-LW6-2 175lbs.
A tuff player that likes to fight, and also likes to crash the net. The only problem is that he has had trouble turning these tendencies into positive results. Since his transition to the pro-game he has found points hard to come by, and has lost the goal scoring ability he once had at Owen Sound ( OHL ). Part of the reasoning behind this is because his body is still maturing. I saw him during Star’s training camp and he looked much bigger than his listed size of 6-2 175lbs, as he seemed closer to 6-3 190lbs. As a result, Ryan has yet to adapt to these changes in his frame, causing his skating to still be awkward. He will continue to develop with the K-Wings, and could turn his raw talents into a 4th line job with time.
K-WINGS ( IHL )GP-43G-3A-3PTS-6PIM-68
Evgeny Tsybouk-D6-0 190lbs.
With the recent trade of Sergei Gusev a spot has opened up in the system for a new defensive prospect to surface. This prospect could be Evgeny Tsybouk, who during the 1997 training camp impressed management with his fiestiness and puck movement. Further more, Evgeny also proved to be a good skater, and delivered some nice open-ice hits. His 1998 camp was less eventful however, and his year in Kalamazoo has been a struggle for the most part. He is still acclimating himself to North American hockey, as he only spent one year in major-junior, and also has been low on the depth chart. Despite his inconsistencies Evgeny shows very good raw talents, and with more playing time should find himself moving up in the organization. ( Note: The Stars have seen something they like about this kid, and have made reference to it publicly. I like him too, and feel that he could be a true sleeper.)
K-WINGS ( IHL )GP-37G-1A-2PTS-3PIM-67
Greg Leeb-RW5-8 155lbs
When you watch Greg Leeb play you notice two things about him; he’s really quick, and he’s awfully small. His quickness is seen mostly in his lateral movements, although his straight ahead speed is good too. The most apparent fact however is that his frame resembles that of a grade-school boy. This serves to decrease his effectiveness in traffic, and makes his NHL future doubtful. He has had a good year with the K-Wings, and has shown flashes of grit and skill in two training camps with the Stars. Unfortunately, expansion seems to be his only hope for an extended tour in the NHL though.
K-WINGS ( IHL )GP-71G-16A-24PTS-40PIM-18
Juha Lind-LW5-10 180lbs.
Many hockey fans will recognize this name, as Juha played for Dallas much of the season last year. Unfortunantely contract talks fell apart during the summer, and Juha went back to Finland rather than accept a two-way contract. Why Dallas only offered a two-way contract is beyond me, as it obviously hurt their depth at the LW position in the long run. For not only is Juha a valuable LW in the system, but he also possess very good speed, which has been a problem for the Stars. With his polished game Juha is far from a longshot, but contract issues place him in that category for the time being. (NOTE: Maybe the Stars wouldn’t have had to make the trade for Houge if Juha was still around.)
JOKERIT ( FIN )GP-50G-20A-19PTS-39PIM-22+/- 16