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Rising Stars- January

Welcome to BlackOut’s new hub for Dallas Stars prospects!

With one of the strongest systems in hockey, each month we will take a look at the top prospects for the Stars. We’ll look at how they’re doing, where they need to improve, and where they could possibly project.

This month we take a look at the top 5. (All projections are best case scenario)

 

Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

1. Valeri Nichushkin, RW, Dallas Stars- Though Nichushkin has spent the entire year with the big club, I still qualify him as a prospect. And though he has some work to do in certain areas, he’s one of the top prospects in all of hockey.

By-the-numbers- 46 GP-9 G-13 A-22 PTS

Areas of improvement- Nichushkin has improved his decision making from the start of the year but still needs to work on his 2-way game. Like most rookies he also will need to build up stamina as he goes through an entire year of the NHL. Head coach Lindy Ruff recently said he felt Nichushkin had been dragging the last few games.

“Val, he was hurting a little bit, going into last game, I didn’t even know if he was going to play. Even in the New York game, as a young player he just seemed tired. He was getting knocked down. We’re trying to keep him fresh, drop his minutes down a little bit, get more in less time but I’d like to see him battle through it. I don’t want to take him out of the lineup. He expressed that he was tired and didn’t feel very strong, but I’d like to see him battle through it a little bit, too.”

- Lindy Ruff to the DallasNews

Projection- As one of the most exciting prospects in the league Nichushkin projects as a top-line, potential All-Star winger. He’s been compared to Alexander Ovechkin and Rick Nash. Obviously the Stars would be happy with either.

 

Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

2. Jack Campbell, G, Texas Stars- When Jack Campbell was selected 11th overall in the 2010 Draft Stars fans rejoiced. Here was a goalie who could continue the outstanding legacy the Stars have enjoyed between the pipes. Ed Belfour, Marty Turco…Jack Campbell. For the most part, Campbell has lived up to the hype. Though he has battled injuries this season Campbell has played very well.

By-the-numbers- 5-0-0, 1.40 GAA, .947 SV% (AHL)

Areas of improvement- As with most young goalies Campbell needs to work on his consistency from game to game. He can sometimes lose focus after making an outstanding save. This may be nitpicking (because Campbell’s been outstanding when healthy this year) but it needs to be said nonetheless. And while no player can control their health, it would obviously benefit both Campbell and Stars if he stayed on the ice and out of the doc’s office.

Projection- Campbell still projects as a #1 and possible franchise goalie. At his best he has Ryan Miller potential.

 

Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

3. Alex Chiasson, RW, Dallas Stars- Like Nichushkin, Chiasson has spent the entire year with the Stars. I still rank him as a prospect however because he still has Calder eligibility. Though Chiasson has struggled as of late, with only 2 points in his last 8 games, the Stars should be happy with where he is as a player this early in his career.

By-the-numbers- 45 GP- 8 G- 15 A- 23 PTS

Areas of improvement- Chiasson needs to add significant weight to adjust to the game on the NHL level. He needs to get stronger in order to win battles in front of the net. Could also stand to improve his defensive game.

Projection- Most feel Chiasson could develop into a top-6, scoring, power forward. His ceiling is probably somewhere in the Drew Stafford, Chris Stewart area.

 

Alonzo Adams-USA TODAY Sports

4. Brett Ritchie, RW, Texas Stars- Ritchie could be described as a stronger version of Chiasson. He’s a prototypical power-forward who uses his size and excellent wrister to score goals. While his development has stalled a little, expect to see Ritchie get a call-up at some point either this season or next.

By-the-numbers- 38 GP- 8 G- 18 A- 26 PTS (AHL)

Areas of improvement- For a player of his size and strength some scouts feel Ritchie doesn’t play as physical a game as he could. He also needs to continue to improve his skating if he wants to reach his potential with the Stars.

Projection- As with Chiasson, Ritchie projects as a top-6 power forward. Some have likened his game to Ryan Getzlaf but that seems overstating it a bit. A more realistic comparison would be Ryane Clowe or Todd Bertuzzi. Both fine players in their own right.

 

5. Devin Shore, C, Maine- Devin Shore is an exciting prospect currently playing at the University of Maine. While not the biggest of players, Shore displays excellent hockey sense and outstanding puck skills. An excellent passer, Shore excels on the power-play.

By-the-numbers- 20 GP- 11 G- 15 A- 27 PTS (NCAA)

Areas of improvement- Shore needs to improve greatly in the defensive zone. He has the ability to be a 2-way player. He just needs to embrace the role. Must also work on his skating.

Projection- Shore’s ceiling could be as a top-6 forward. Offensively he compares very favorably to Mike Richards. While nowhere close to the level defensively as Richards, both are solid offensive players with a ceiling around 60-70 points.

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