Wednesday, July 11, 2012
From Undrafted to NHL-Ready, Brenden Dillon Is Primed for Big Year
I got quite a few interviews at Stars Development Camp this past week. I'm going to space out the articles I'm writing about it over the next week though. Stick around to hear from Stars coach Willie Desjardins and prospects Jack Campbell, Reilly and Austin Smith, Alex Chiasson, and today, Brenden Dillon.
The big buzz around Stars Development Camp wasn't really about a recently drafted player. In fact, the player with some of the biggest buzz in the camp wasn't even drafted at all. Brenden Dillon, just starting his second year with the organization, was among those present at Stars camp over the past week in Frisco. Dillon, who is familiar to the Cedar Park faithful, picked up a lot of high praise in his single NHL game last season. Some are even projecting that he could crack the roster on day one.
"I'm just trying to worry about what I can worry about", Dillon said. "You hear this and that, but I try to stay away from that and just play hockey."
If he doesn't start there, he has a coach who knows his game well in Willie Desjardins. Dillon's Thunderbirds played against Desjardins' Tigers in the WHL. "I think [Desjardins] has a great system and reputation from coaching in the Western League with Medicine Hat, where I actually played against him," said Dillon.
Dillon spoke highly of fellow blue-liners Jamie Oleksiak and Patrick Nemeth, both of whom are expected in Texas this season. "The future is bright in both Dallas and Texas. Fans have a lot to look forward to."
Dillon will head off to Gary Roberts' camp to learn the finer points of health and fitness, including healthy eating, with some of his teammates. After that, barring CBA upheaval, he could be headed back to the Traverse City Tournament, where he served as captain last season.
"[The CBA]'s not up to me, but I had a great time last year and it was a great tournament. If [the CBA] does go through and I'm there."
It was clear from my talk with Brenden, and some of the other players, that the CBA is weighing heavily on their mind. At such an early stage of their career, this year could represent an inflection point in their potential. However, these young prospects know that it's not up to them and they are only working to control what they can.
After getting one small taste, Dillon knows that he wants to get back.
"To be here full time is a big motivation for this summer."