Somehow with talent like Tyler Seguin, Jaime Benn, John Klingberg and Ben Bishop on the roster, the Dallas Stars missed the playoffs for the second straight season.
Goaltending used to be the issue, but Bishop helped them to the seventh lowest goals against per game (2.71) in the NHL. Despite all of the talent up front, the Stars ended up finishing in the middle of the pack in goals for the second straight year after leading the NHL in goals in 2016.
After one-year as head coach Ken Hitchcock retired this spring and Jim Montgomery was hired after at the University of Denver (2017 NCAA Champions).
The Stars have a strong top-pair with Klingberg and Esa Lindell and two great blueline prospects in Julius Honka (No.14 in 2014) and Miro Heiskanen (No.3 in 2017). They’re top heavy up front with Seguin, Benn and Alexander Radulov but could afford to add some depth and improve their forward pipeline. Denis Gurianov, Riley Tufte and Roope Hintz are their top prospects up front. Valeri Nichushkin could be making his way back to Dallas as well, which would help bolster a good group of forwards.
With the No.13 Overall Pick in the 2018 NHL Draft, the Dallas Stars select…
Joe Veleno — C — Canada ????????
The Stars add a talented two-way centre with great speed and the ability to score goals and setup his linemates. Veleno split the 2017-18 season between Saint John and Drummondville, where he combined for 22 goals and 57 assists (79 points) in 64 games—tied for third in the QMJHL in assists and 10th in points.
There aren’t many holes in Veleno’s game and he should return to the QMJHL for a fourth season in 2019. Veleno is the type of centre who would fit perfectly behind Seguin on the second line. He could take the spot of Jason Spezza (signed for one more season) or Martin Hanzal (signed for two more seasons) when their contracts expire.
“There is so much to like about Joe Veleno. He’s a hard-nosed workhorse that makes the players around him better. The fleet-footed center is unselfish and will primarily look to make a play at top speed; however, when the chance arises to put it in the pot himself, he will capitalize. He sees the ice well and is rarely caught out of position. His defensive game is refined and he actively pursues puck control. Transitioning to offence is natural, smooth, and quick. All-in-all, a well-rounded two-way forward that skates well and can be the catalyst a team needs to turn a game in its favor. If he can find the consistency in refusing to let himself get taken out of plays, especially if he doesn’t start them, he will thrive and exceed expectations.” — Elite Prospects
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