Thursday, June 20, 2019

What the 2019 NHL Draft Means for the 2019-20 Texas Stars

(Credit: Texas Stars)
The effect of the NHL Draft on an AHL team is usually long in the pipeline. I have written pieces like this in the past outlining how basically no one from this weekend's draft in Vancouver should be expected to make a meaningful impact in Texas for several years. However, the 2018 Draft broke the mold, and that's worth discussing a bit.

Generally, it takes several years for any draft pick to hit the AHL. Between the general skill level of drafted players and the AHL-CHL transfer agreement, the AHL has a de facto age floor of 20. That has been the case in the past but recent trends are beginning to change that.

As AHL teams continue to mature their development models and NHL teams take more direct ownership over player development in the minor leagues to the extent that most of the clubs in the league are owned by their NHL parents, it has become more and more advantageous for NHL teams to bring in younger prospects to the AHL for the full minor league experience. Players like Denis Gurianov and Julius Honka fit this mold. There was more for them to learn under Derek Laxdal and the Texas coaching staff than there was in Russia or Swift Current, respectively.

If the AHL-CHL agreement disappeared tomorrow, Dallas would show no hesitation in assigning Ty Dellandrea to the Texas Stars for all of next season to get him out of a bad situation in Flint and put him on a path to the NHL immediately. As is, he must play in the NHL or go back to a bad Flint team that will hopefully trade him to a contender before the OHL stretch run.

And that brings us to the oddity of the 2019 Draft. Two players picked up in that draft played meaningful minutes in Texas this season but for different reasons.

First, Ty Dellandrea being on a non-playoff team helped him a bit in his pro journey. After Flint's season was done, Texas still had about a dozen games left and the chance at playoffs. Since he was signed to an NHL contract, Texas could bring him in for the end of the year. I'll also note that Riley Damiani had the same situation but only played one game.

Second, Adam Mascherin. Mascherin came to Texas via a different path. After being drafted in 2016 by Florida, he re-entered the draft as a 20 year old and was picked up by Dallas. Without the limitation of his age as a factor, he was able to jump right to the pros and was Texas's #2 goal scorer behind Joel L'Esperance.

With those two exceptions, the Stars were mostly composed of draft picks longer in the tooth. Full list of Dallas draft picks that played in Texas last season follows below with notations for players who were late season additions. As you can see, generally you're going to be looking at 2-3 years before anyone whose name is called this weekend pulls on a victory green jersey in Cedar Park.

Adam Mascherin - 2018, 100th overall
Colton Point - 2016, 128th
Denis Gurianov - 2015, 12th
Jake Oettinger - 2017, 26th (late add)
Joseph Cecconi - 2015, 133rd (late add)
Nicholas Caamano - 2016, 146th
Niklas Hansson - 2013, 68th
Philippe Desrosiers - 2013, 54th
Rhett Gardner - 2016, 116th (late add)
Riley Damiani - 2018, 137th (late add)
Roope Hintz - 2015, 49th
Ty Dellandrea - 2018, 13th (late add)

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