Some speculation has already started surrounding the Dallas Stars, and it doesn’t pertain to free agency (but plenty on that coming this week). With the departure of Mike Ribeiro last weekend and the team already having a shortage of centers, the drafting of Radek Faksa looked like a great move, especially since many had the center being taken in the top 10 picks. But what is next now for the 13th overall pick? The talent center is being talked about as a future strong 2nd line center or maybe even top line talent if he really develops well, but could Faksa be ready very soon the make the NHL roster for the Stars?
While he be young, Faksa already has NHL ready size at 6’3″ and over 200 pounds. Combine that with many scouts saying that he already has one of the best two-way games out of the top-prospects this summer, and he might be ready to play in the NHL sooner than many others.
In his first season with the Kitchener Rangers the Czech Republic native dominated in the OHL. His 29 goals and 67 points in 62 games were the most by any rookie. In fact he led all rookies in goals, assists, points, plus/minus, and game-winning goals. So offensive firepower, big frame, and smart all-around play? Sounds like something the Stars could use at the NHL level, especially now that their best center options are Jamie Benn and Steve Ott, two natural wingers. But hold the phone for a minute and think about the long-term plan.
With the team moving Ribeiro, and Ott and Morrow still in trade rumors, the Stars might not be a fully competitive team if they don’t land one of the top free agents like many hope they do. While of course the roster and lines won’t even start to come together until September, I don’t think Stars fans need should plan on seeing Faksa dominate the NHL this season. He will be at development camps in July and definitely be participating in camps and preseason play for a little bit, Radek is only 18 and last season with the Rangers was his first season in North America. At least one more year in Kitchener could allow him to develop further and take on a top-line and leadership role with the team while he continues to improve his game.
While he projects as a possible world-class player and leader for the team down the road, I don’t see the need for the Dallas Stars and their staff to rush him onto the big club this fall. I know fans want to see their new stud prospect in action, but most great things need some time to grow. And if the Stars can hold off for one or two years, the reward should be worth the wait.