When Joe Nieuwendyk took over the General Manager position for the Dallas Stars in May of 2009, he took over a team with a prospect pool so shallow it was more akin to a shower. The Tom Hicks era left the team with very few prospects of note and after 2008, the winning ways stopped and this became more evident with those curtains pulled back.
Now Joe is a few seasons into the GM game and the pool is brimming with offensively talented prospects. The AHL team that was projected to do mediocre this year is rolling along at full blast after a weak start, thanks to the performance of many of these new faces. You can credit smart drafting for much of this success.
But you can’t ignore the smart signings and trades. Brendan Dillon was signed as an undrafted player and Cody Eakin was picked up in a deal that saw Mike Ribeiro go the other way for an even trade. At the time many had question marks over their head, but after leading the AHL Texas Stars in scoring for most of the season until linemate Reilly Smith took the mantle, I think a lot of that doubt has dissipated into questions of “Mike Ribeirwho?”
This new depth came fast, in just a few short years you could argue that the Dallas Stars prospect depth went from one of the less coveted to one of the deepest. This newfound depth has pushed players like Thomas Vincour out of the running. You can also blame his lackluster play, as is usually the case. But it doesn’t help that he is now being overshadowed by players like Cody Eakin, Reilly Smith, Alex Chiasson and even Junior players like Brett Ritchie.
So, while it was a surprise when Vinny’s name was left off of the call-up list – it isn’t exactly flabbergasting in retrospect.
Here’s the list of players invited:
Brett Ritchie (F), Radek Faksa(F)
Brenden Dillon (D), Jordie Benn (D), Cody Eakin (F), Reilly Smith (F), Antoine Roussel (F)
Other players who I expected to get a shot who are missing from the list also include Alex Chiasson who looked really good during the summer camps.
I think we can all agree, regardless of who shows up to said camps – its nice to have hockey back in full swing.