The 2019 Dallas Stars Development Camp concluded Friday with a 4-on-4 intrasquad scrimmage: what notes can we take away from this week-long event?
Even if they were only kids – many of them years away skating on an NHL rink – it was an amazing week getting to watch live Dallas Stars hockey again. After Monday’s off-ice activities, Tuesday-Friday was full of drills, tests, hard work, and fun for several young men hoping to claw their way up the hockey food chain.
Friday’s 4-on-4 Scrimmage capped the week-long event, leaving fans with an exciting first glimpse into the organization’s future. Although many of these prospects will now return home for the offseason, the Dallas Stars work has just begun.
Over these next few weeks, Jim Montgomery and the entire scouting department will be examining their Development Camp tape in order to comprehensively evaluate each player’s yearly progression.
On the surface, there was a lot to like. Many players stood out in my amateur eyes, and I have compiled some overall observations and analysis from my time at Comerica Center.
Without further ado, lets dive on in.
Nicholas Caamano isn’t too far away from the NHL.
Nicholas Caamano finished the week with an electric showing in the team’s scrimmage on Friday. He routinely skated at a top-gear that looked unrivaled amongst his peers. He always seemed to know exactly where his teammates were and made several creative passes to generate offense. The 20-year-old notched 24 points (12 G, 12 A) with Texas last year, and figures to improve upon these numbers come fall. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Stars end up using Caamano as an injury call-up next season.
Tye Felhaber will put up points with the Texas Stars.
This one feels like cheating, as projecting a man who combined for 71 goals over his last regular and post season to score should be a no-brainer. If there’s one thing I want you guys to take away from this kid, it’s to believe the hype. Tye Felhaber boasts a cannon-shot, quick feet, and dynamic playmaking ability. All through camp, it was evident he was one of the more offensively gifted Stars on the ice at any given time. His best highlight came after Friday’s scrimmage gave way to a shootout, where Felhaber danced his way between the hashes and softly shelved a puck short-side on Thomas Sholl. It reminded me of the way Mike Ribeiro used to do things.
Jason Robertson will do the same.
This kid is crafty. After leading the OHL with 117 points (48 G, 69 A) last year, all eyes were on the 2017 2nd-round-pick heading into the week – and surely, he managed to impress the Dallas Stars brass further. I’m crowning Jason Robertson the unofficial Development Player-of-the-Scrimmage, as he spent much of Friday dangling, scoring, and delivering Radulov-esque passes through creases and onto tapes. Oh, and his skating doesn’t look like the liability draft experts claimed it to be. This kid will be a nightmare for NHL teams to deal with one day.
Speaking of playmakers, add Riley Damiani to the list.
In a continuing organizational trend of drafting 5th-round gems, Riley Damiani looks to be Nill’s latest diamond in the rough. The silky-smooth forward showcased elite hands and looks like a skater who will pile up assists at his peak. The Kitchener Ranger’s age will force him to stay confined to the OHL, where he looks to further pad his stat totals and get stronger. It’s a shame, because he looks to have a toolbox ready for Cedar Park.
Riley Tufte ended his week on a strong note.
Though he looked to get off to an initial rough start, Riley Tufte came alive during Friday’s scrimmage. The physical first-rounder put a charge into a few prospects along the boards, and skated with authority all scrimmage long. He promptly scored off a beautiful deflection from the point to open the contest. One thing that stood out, however, is his lack of a finishing move. He can rush the boards like nobody’s business (think Erik Cole), yet faltered when he got the puck in scoring position. I’ll be keeping close tabs on Tufte’s game in Cedar Park this season, but it’s encouraging to see his game take off and begin to show signs of life.
Thomas Harley didn’t look out-of-place.
It’s always exciting to watch your team’s most recent 1st Rounder in action, and Thomas Harley didn’t disappoint. The 17-year-old held his own the entire week, and looked bigger than advertised. Harley has a smooth feel to his game, looking poised and smart in his decision-making. His best play in camp came Friday after tip-toeing across the blueline, creeping down the half-wall, and firing a pass through the crease. It didn’t connect, but the play looked eerily similar to the design made famous by Miro Heiskanen. The young-gun offers some nice touch and will head back to Mississauga for his next professional campaign.
Adam Mascherin will be a fan-favorite.
Adam Mascherin looked the part of a lightning rod this week, routinely showing off exceptional agility and skating through camp. The 5’10 winger combines good vision with a muscular lower-body to take on a spark plug role, capable of evoking teammates and fans with sustainable energy. Unlike many “blue-collars” skating in the NHL, Mascherin has some offense packed into his toolbox as well. After the 21-year-old put up 44 points in his first AHL season, I wouldn’t be shocked (get it?) to see Adam continue progressing with Texas and one day captivate the hearts of Dallas Stars fans across the metroplex.
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Albin Eriksson had a great start to the week, but had a rough scrimmage.
I’ve learned that I really enjoy watching Albin Eriksson with the puck is on his tape in the offensive zone. His hands ooze with grace, yet I thought the big winger looked sluggish throughout the Friday scrimmage. I noticed defensemen were easily able to track him down and disrupt his scoring chances. Albin Eriksson looks like he can protect the puck well, but I do not envision him flying through backchecks anytime soon, if at all. The disappointment reached its pinnacle on Friday when he stole a puck at center ice and hit the goalie square off a breakaway. I’m not discouraged, but I definitely there’s more work to be had if he’s looking to move to Cedar Park.
Curtis Douglas doesn’t play like the monster he is.
If there was one surprise from Development Camp, it’s that I never saw much physicality from the 6’9, 250lb giant. Maybe some of that was intentional, as I’m sure Dallas has a strict “no-crush-small-prospect-into-boards” policy, but I was disappointed in watching Curtis Douglas perform Friday. He looked to have gotten bumped off the puck quite a few times, and didn’t hold his ground as well as he should’ve. Douglas looks as if he can eat people for breakfast, and I’d like to see him act as such. That’s not to say all of his game was bad – I thought his hands and skates were above average for his size – I just think the Windsor Spitfire can take his game to another level using that ginormous frame.
The future looks really bright.
If there was one thing I collectively took from this week-long development camp, it’s that the Dallas Stars have a lot of promising talent in the prospect pool. There are a lot of top names moving into the AHL this season, and the early returns so far promise to pay dividends. The specifics behind each young man’s development are a mystery to this point, but this week should’ve proven to the front office and fan base that Dallas has great baseline to build upon. I can’t wait to follow their storylines in 2019.
That’s all the notes I have for you guys – I hope I provided some valuable insight into the world of Dallas Stars 2019 Development Camp. If you have any questions, please drop a comment below or find me on social media – I would love to further discuss this week’s happenings. Stunning photos and drill-specific footage can be found on my Twitter page.
- Published on 06/29/2019 at 21:04 PM
- Last updated at 06/29/2019 at 21:04 PM