|(Picture made from images from: sportslogos.net, ,zimbio.com, dallasnews.com,stars.nhl.com, files.eliteprospects.com, texasstarshockey.com)|
The number one complaint amongst our fan base for roughly three years now has been the size a physicality of our blue line. It’s true, since the departure of Mattias Norstrom the only player that can be considered anywhere close to being a shut down defenseman is Nick Grossman. Now, there is much more to being a shut down defenseman than size alone. It takes patience, positioning, the fortitude to block shots, the ability to make that crucial first pass on a break out, and the aroma of being the last person the opposing team wants to piss off.
A defense core also needs its share of offensive upside to be considered elite. The acquisition of Alex Goligoski marks the first elite offensive defenseman the Stars have had on the roster since our friend and cigarette-smoking addict, Sergei Zubov left us. The Stars have built what is arguably the best defensive prospect group in the NHL. It’s full of young kids who have proven themselves at all different levels of Junior, International and Collegiate hockey.
Let’s take a look at what the Stars D-core will potentially look like in 3-4 years:
Jamie Oleksiak (6’7, 243 LB Defenseman who has been compared to the likes of Chara and Myers).
Troy Vance (6’6, 200 LB Defenseman who just turned 18. He is a hard-hitting player, possesses a great shot and is an above average skater for his age. He is also a 5th round pick like Jamie Benn, we’ll see if this 5th round luck pays off soon).
Alex Goligoski (5’11, 180 LB Offensive Defenseman. Assuming new ownership signs him long term. GoGo managed to tally 15 points in 23 games with Stars making it look like giving up Neal and Nisky wasn’t such a one-sided trade after all).
Phillip Larsen (6’1 183 LB Offensive defenseman considered by many to be one of the top 5 prospects in the Stars system. Larsen tallied 3 assists in his brief appearance on the Stars roster last season).
John Klingberg (6’0, 158 LB Two-way defenseman heading to the top league in Finland this upcoming year. He has proven to be a solid defender at different levels of Swedish hockey leagues).
Brenden Dillon (6’3, 207 LB Undrafted defenseman pushing to the NHL at a Benn like fashion. Dillon has shown flashes of brilliance at both ends of the ice).
From the looks of it, the Stars will have a very talented defense core in front of one of the starting goalies Mario wrote about in the previous post.
Let’s take a peak at the size of this group and do some quick math. This potential starting defense core will have an average size of 6’1, 195.2 LB. But something to keep in mind is that Oleksiak and Vance, the two biggest prospects are only 18-years-old. I don’t think it would be a stretch to suggest these two end up putting on 10 more pounds. I also think that the Stars will want Klingberg to put on at least 15 more pounds before he gets a shot in the NHL.
So we are looking at a huge blue line compared to other teams around the NHL. We’re talking an average of 200 LB! Now I know some people will say “Michael, there are only 3 players on this list that are over 200 pounds.” Which is true, but can’t we use a subject a lot of us grew up hating for something that is pleasant to the eyes? I suggest we do.
Get ready fans, we’re on the cusp of seeing the defense core we have been dreaming of for a very long time.