6.12.2008

Thoughts on the Stars Prospects

I'm really looking forward to seeing a few rookies in the Stars' lineup next season.

James Neal and Fabian Brunnstrom (who I stupidly forgot in my last post when mentioning players who could make the lineup next season) are the two brightest forwards in the system.

Brunnstrom dominated in Sweden over the past two seasons, leading his Swedish Div. 1 team in scoring with 73 points before jumping to the Swedish Elite League and scoring 9 goals and 37 points in 54 games. He's got electrifying potential, as shown in a highlight video I posted from Youtube earlier in the year when Dallas first signed Brunnstrom.

James Neal is a more intriguing prospect. He had a strong career in major junior, with seasons of 44, 58, and 65 points. He did suffer from injuries, but they were minor and not considered a problem. However, when he reached the AHL in 07-08, he was not the kind of player the Stars expected. He had a weak October, and starting in November, he looked like a lot of seasoning would be needed for him to reach the NHL. However, when Decmeber reached it's mid-point, Neal was looking strong. He was scoring often, and could've been an emergency call-up until a knee injury knocked him out in late December. After missing all of January, Neal came back in late February and resumed his fiery pace. He finished with 18 goals and 37 points, but many of those points came late in the year.

The only problem I could foresee with Neal making the team is that he may have a similar first NHL season as his first AHL season. He may start off slow and have little impact, but he also might not have the chance to improve later if his start is too slow. Not many prospects that start out with 0 points in 9 games end up sticking for the whole year. But, if Brett Hull and Les Jackson think that Neal can have another strong season-ending performance, he may stick the whole year. We'll have to wait and see.

The defense is shored up, so no prospects will see that much time there. However, Tobias Stephan has the inside track to play back-up behind Marty Turco.

That's all for now, but I'll be writing tomorrow after the NHL awards show.


STARS RULE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!