Congratulations again to the Los Angeles Kings, who are the Stanley Cup champions following their 6-1 win in Game six of the 2012 Stanley Cup Finals against the New Jersey Devils. The Kings won the series 4-2, and it was their first Stanley Cup in 45 years of franchise history. The fans of the Los Angeles Kings have waited a long time for this, they deserve to enjoy the offseason as NHL champions.
Most NHL fans will now start to think about the draft. The NHL Draft is this Friday and Saturday at the Consol Energy Center in Pittsburgh. The Washington Capitals have the most overall draft picks with eleven. The Dallas Stars have eight total draft picks (including 3 of the first 61 picks):
Round 2, 13th pick (43rd overall)
Round 2, 31st pick (61st overall)
Round 3 13th pick (74th overall)
Round 4, 13th pick (104th overall)
Round 5, 13th pick (134th overall)
Round 5, 23rd pick (144th overall)
Round 7, 13th pick (194th overall)
Most experts expect the Edmonton Oilers, owners of the first pick, to take Nail Yakupov, RW, Sarnia (OHL), who is widely considered the best player in the draft. Mike G. Morreale of nhl.com has the Stars taking Cody Ceci, D, Ottawa (OHL) with the 13th overall pick in the first round. Adam Kimelman of nhl.com has the Stars taking Derrick Pouliot, D, Portland (WHL). And Steven Hoffner of nhl.com has the Stars taking Teuvo Teravainen, LW, Jokerit Jr. (FIN-JR.).
It is interesting that two of the three analysts have the Stars taking a defenseman in the first round. The Stars need playmakers all around, but it would make more sense if the Stars drafted a winger or a center if there is a good one available with the 13th pick (it is almost certain that there will be one still available). The Stars may also look to find a goaltender in the draft too. They need someone to help Kari Lehtonen. They did recently sign Swedish goaltender Christopher Nihlstorp, but they maybe looking for a young goaltender who they can take some time to develop into a replacement for Lehtonen.
The Stars need to strike gold with a couple of their draft picks to get them to the next level. They need playmakers. The front office has been working almost non-stop in recent weeks to create a draft board that will ensure they have a solid, if not spectacular, draft for the Stars. There’s always some wheeling and dealing in the draft with players switching teams.
Given the Stars have 3 of the first 61 picks, they could very well be involved either trading some of their players away or trading a draft pick or two away to get a difference maker. It would not be totally surprising to see them package a few picks together if they believed they could get someone who would help close the gap between them and the division rival Stanley Cup champion Kings. It should be an interesting weekend in Pittsburgh.
There are a few other quick Stars notes to pass along this week:
– Willie Desjardins has been named head coach of the Stars main AHL team, the Texas Stars.
– the Stars also signed Francis Wathier to a two-year deal. Wathier was with the Texas Stars last year playing in 75 games.
Finally, the Stars announced their preseason schedule for the upcoming season. Eight games overall in the preseason. Training camp starts September 21 in Boise, Idaho. They’ll play one game in Boise against the Minnesota Wild on Tuesday, September 25th. The rest of the preseason schedule is as follows:
|Tues., Sept. 25||Minnesota Wild||8:10 p.m.||CenturlyLink Arena, Boise, ID|
|Wed., Sept. 26||Minnesota Wild||7 p.m.||Xcel Energy Center, St. Paul, MN|
|Fri., Sept. 28||Florida Panthers||7:30 p.m.||AT&T Center, San Antonio, TX|
|Sat., Sept. 29||Florida Panthers||7 p.m.||Airlines Center, Dallas, TX|
|Mon., Oct. 1||Colorado Avalanche||8 p.m.||Pepsi Center, Denver, CO|
|Wed., Oct. 3||St. Louis Blues||7 p.m.||Airlines Center, Dallas, TX|
|Fri., Oct. 5||Colorado Avalanche||7 p.m.||American Airlines Center, Dallas, TX|
|Sat., Oct. 6||St. Louis Blues||TBD||Scottrade Center, St. Louis, MO|
Offseason. What offseason? The Stars are preparing hard for next year. It’ll be an exciting weekend for the Stars and their fans. And the fate of the Stars future in terms of how well they draft will be found out next weekend, but we do know that it is Written in the Stars.