Christian Kyrou, Lian Bichsel, Logan Stankoven, Mavrik Bourque, NHL Prospects, Season Previews, Stars Prospects

Stars Top-10 Prospects: 2023-24 Preseason Edition

Under general manager Jim Nill, the Dallas Stars have done an admirable job of accumulating talent, especially on the draft floor. While the team’s 2017 draft class receives (and deserves) a ton of praise for shaping the future of the franchise, the Stars’ scouting team hasn’t stopped adding quality prospects since then.

Life of a Stanley Cup contender means that you often have to trade away future assets, and that is reflected by how shallow the Stars’ prospect pool is overall. However, there are still a handful of prospects here that project to become everyday contributors at the NHL level, and a select few that look capable of becoming franchise cornerstones in Dallas.

Here’s how the Stars’ prospect pool shapes up heading into the 2023-24 season.

10. (D) Aram Minnetian – 2023, 125th Overall

2022-23 Stats: United States National U18 Team (NTDP) – 62 Games Played, 7 Goals, 31 Points

Aram Minnetian is smooth-skating defender that moves the puck well and seems to have a decent amount of runway in terms of his development. The New Jersey-native had 31 points in 62 games while playing for the same United States U18 team that featured four first round selections from this year’s draft. He is committed to Boston College for next season.

Related: 5 Dallas Stars Prospects That Could Make NHL Roster in 2023-24

Latest News & Highlight

While Minnetian isn’t overly large at 5-foot-11, 194 pounds, his skating allows him to zip all over the ice in both offensive and defensive situations. His offensive skillset isn’t special, but he should be able to accumulate a ton of secondary assists as his career progresses. He will be playing with quality players this season at Boston College, including two of his teammates from last season Will Smith, the fifth pick in the 2023 draft, and Gabe Perreault, the 23rd selection. Minnetian is a solid, low-ceiling prospect right now, but a big leap forward while playing in the NCAA isn’t out of the question.

9. (LW) Antonio Stranges – 2020, 123rd Overall

2022-23: Texas Stars (AHL) – 19 GP, 4 G, 12 P

Antonio Stranges has not played a lot of hockey since he was drafted in 2020. Overall since the COVID-abbreviated 2020-21 season, he has featured in exactly 100 regular season games as well as another 10 playoff games. That is not a lot of playing time, quite frankly, and he’ll need to find a way to stay healthy and make an impact this season.

When Stranges is healthy, he’s a fast-skating, offensively engaged skater that likes to make things happen all over the ice. He is the type of player that needs to play high in the lineup to maximize his output – that’s the biggest reason he spent time in the ECHL this past season (four goals, 12 points in 12 games). The Stars aren’t exactly overflowing with good, young talent on the wings, so there is still an opportunity for him to find a role in Dallas over time.

8. (D) Tristan Bertucci – 2023, 61st Overall

2022-23: Flint Firebirds (OHL) – 63 GP, 11 G, 50 P

Tristan Bertucci is a lot like Minnetian, except the former’s overall ceiling at both ends of the ice seems to be higher than the latter’s. Bertucci is a mobile, two-way defenseman that excels at reading the play and getting himself into position to make a defensive stop or a well-timed pass in the offensive zone. On a high-octane Flint Firebirds team, his 50 points was the second-most among defensemen.

Tristan Bertucci Flint Firebirds
Tristan Bertucci, Flint Firebirds (Photo by Natalie Shaver/OHL Images)

Bertucci is more than likely destined for another season in the Ontario Hockey League, and that should give him ample opportunity to play big minutes and continue to develop his two-way game. He is a sound defender, and that is what will likely carve out a role for him at the professional level. That being said, there’s a good chance that he develops into a steady 30-40 point, middle-pairing defender in his prime.

7. (RW) Matthew Seminoff – 2022, 179th Overall

2022-23: Kamloops Blazers (WHL) – 62 GP, 31 G, 82 P

Matthew Seminoff if a hard-working, highly-competitive winger that embodies everything you look for in a middle-six winger. Last season in the Western Hockey League (WHL), he found another gear and produced career-high totals in his fourth season playing junior hockey. He also wore an ‘A’ on his sweater as an alternate captain for the first time in his career.

Seminoff looks to be on “steal watch” as he continues to develop this season. He will begin his professional career this season with the Texas Stars, and a strong showing at that level could cement the fact that he should have been taken a lot sooner than the sixth round of the 2022 draft. He will likely have to carve out a career for himself as a high-energy winger that can finish as many plays as he creates.

6. Matej Blümel – 2019, 100th Overall

2022-23: Texas Stars (AHL) – 58 GP, 19 G, 44 P

Matej Blümel is an interesting case in the grand scheme of the Stars’ prospect pool. He was not drafted by Dallas; he was drafted by the Edmonton Oilers but was never offered a contract. He is also one of few Stars prospects that has already seen action in the NHL after playing six games with the Stars last season (he scored his first NHL goal on Nov. 13.) He is one of the team’s most NHL-ready prospects, but there is a strong chance that he will be depth chart-ed out when all is said and done.

Blümel possesses a strong, accurate shot as well as the creativity necessary to create opportunities like the one he buried for his first NHL goal (seen above). He is not overly physical, but he isn’t exactly “soft” either. For him to secure a spot in the NHL with the Stars (or another team for that matter) is to continue to get stronger, protect the puck better, and make the most of every opportunity he is afforded this season. He will probably be one of Dallas’s call-ups in the event of injuries this season.

5. (D) Artyom Grushnikov – 2021, 48th Overall

2022-23: Hamilton Bulldogs (OHL) – 65 GP, 8 G, 17 P

Artyom Grushnikov was a real *ahem* bulldog in the defensive zone while playing in Hamilton last season. The Russian defenseman is a left-handed defensive-defenseman that finds ways to get stops in the defensive end. His compete level is noticeably high, and when he’s on his game, he takes up a ton of space in his own zone despite having average size.

Grushnikov will find his fit at the pro level alongside an offensive gunslinger that needs a reliable partner that can compensate defensively. His offense will almost certainly be extremely limited at the pro level, but he doesn’t need to be a point-getter to carve out a role for himself. His overall ceiling probably coincides with his defensive ceiling, and it will be quite interesting to see how he fares in the American Hockey League this season.

4. (D) Christian Kyrou – 2022, 50th Overall

2022-23: Erie Otters/Sarnia Sting (OHL) – 64 GP, 20 G, 77 P

Christian Kyrou is the polar opposite of what Grushnikov. Kyrou loves to move the puck and be involved with things offensively. At 5-foot-10, 183 pounds, he’s the prototypical undersized defenseman with a lot of offensive pop in their game. He sees the ice well and can command the play from the backend. His play in the OHL last season suggests that he is ready to take the next step in his career.

Christian Kyrou Erie Otters
Christian Kyrou, Erie Otters (Photo by Luke Durda/OHL Images)

Kyrou, whose older brother Jordan is a star forward for the St. Louis Blues, will face the usual questions about his effectiveness against men given his size disadvantage. His skill level should allow him to enjoy a long career in professional hockey, but the level he plays at hinges on his ability to elevate his game in all areas of the ice. He’s a prospect to watch over the next couple of years.

3. (C) Mavrik Bourque – 2020, 30th Overall

2022-23: Texas Stars (AHL) – 70 GP, 20 G, 47 P

Mavrik Bourque is the type of player that finds ways to make things happen. He is another prospect in this pool that sees the ice well and is just as adept at moving the puck. He encountered a bit of a learning curve in his first season of pro hockey, but once he got going, he was one of the Texas Stars’ best players. He is able to read the defense and make plays that end up in the back of the net.

Momentum is at Bourque’s back, and that should propel him to a strong start in the AHL this season. He’s not quite NHL-ready, but he’s on the right track and should be making noise as a potential call-up by the end of the season. He still has top six potential, though the other great young players in the Stars’ system may ultimately force him into a middle six role in the future. Still, if the Stars are going to have a prolonged championship window, he is a prospect that will have a hand in it.

2. (D) Lian Bichsel – 2022, 18th Overall

2022-23: Leksands IF (SHL) – 42 GP, 1 G, 6 P

The best defenseman in the Stars’ prospect pool is Lian Bichsel, the team’s top pick in the 2022 draft. The product of Switzerland is a quality two-way defender that possesses high upside as a shutdown defender. He’s a tower on the blue line that uses his long reach to maintain possession in the offensive zone and disrupt plays in the defensive end.

After cementing himself as a reliable defender in the Swedish Hockey League last season, Bichsel will look to do the same in the AHL this season. One thing to keep an eye on this season is how he adapts to the speed of North American hockey. He’s a smart defender that understands his position well, so his instincts and positioning skills should allow him to lock down a steady role in Cedar Park this season. However, if he adapts well and is able to create opportunities offensively, it may not be long before fans are asking to see him enter the lineup in Dallas.

1. (C/RW) Logan Stankoven – 2021, 47th Overall

2022-23: Kamloops Blazers (WHL) – 48 GP, 34 G, 97 P

When you think about Stars prospects nowadays, you think of Logan Stankoven right away. Another example of an undersized player that fell in his draft, he has continued to dominate in the WHL. Over his last two seasons, both as captain of the Kamloops Blazers, he recorded 79 goals and 201 points in just 107 games. That’s a pace matched only by Connor Bedard over that same stretch of time.

Stankoven would be a lock for an opening night roster spot with other NHL teams, but the depth chart in Dallas will likely force him to begin his pro career in the AHL. That’s not a bad thing, and there’s even a slim chance that he forces Nill to keep him when it’s time to make his final cuts to the roster. Regardless of where he begins the season, Stankoven is the true standout of this prospect pool. He’ll have every opportunity in the coming years to become an elite NHL forward.

Do you agree with our rankings? What does your top 10 look like? Let us know in the comments section below!

Articles You May Like

Capitals Showdown: Kolzig vs. Holtby
Brett Lindros: A Promising Career Cut Short
Preds’ Stamkos bids emotional farewell to Tampa
Brett Sutter retires after 17 pro hockey seasons, 1,090 AHL games
Dallas Stars Sign Matt Duchene to 1-Year Deal

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *