Pretty good night at the draft for the Stars, who got defenseman Miro Heiskanen, who was the player at the top of their draft list, and goaltender Jake Oettinger, who was the top netminder on their list.
“We are leaving today sky high,” said Joe McDonnell, Stars director of amateur scouting.
On Heiskanen, who played for HIFK in Finland’s top league, here are a couple of quotes:
McDonnell on what he likes about the Finnish defenseman: “Composure, his hockey sense. The sky is the limit for him. We compared him to a poor man’s Nick Lidstrom at this point. His agent, Igor Larionov, who played with Nick for quite a few years, sees the same thing. So, we are fired up.”
Stars GM Jim Nill: “He’s a highly skilled defenseman, great puck mover, never under pressure. One of those guys that makes all the right plays all the time. Good skater, moves the puck, power play guy. He’s a good defenseman.”
As for how close the 17-year-old Heiskanen is to the NHL, Nill said Heiskanen will probably play another year in Finland, and then he will probably be close.
Nill was asked about if he had some good offers for that third pick they used to take Heiskanen.
“There were some good offers, but in the end when you have a high pick and have a chance to take a high-end defenseman, it’s too valuable,” Nill said.
The Stars did make a trade to move up to take Oettinger, sending the 29th and 70th pick to Chicago for the 26th pick which they used to take the Boston University goaltender.
“Oettinger is a guy we had targeted,” Nill said. “When he started to drop, you try to project what teams might be after him. We knew we had to get ahead of a couple of teams and we thought it was worth the extra pick to make that move.”
Here’s McDonnell on the 6-4, 218-pound Oettinger: “He’s basicially everything you are looking for in a goaltender. The size, the athleticism and the compete level. Basically, three checkmarks we are looking at with a goalie, and we got him. Fun day.”
Also talked to Kirk Luedeke, who is a scout for the Red Line Report, an independent scouting service, about Oettinger. Luedeke scouts in the Boston area and saw a lot of the 18-year-old goalie.
“In my view, best goalie in the draft,” Luedeke said. “Great size. He’s got that archetypal NHL size and athletic ability you are looking for. He’s got long limbs, and he’s got good mechanics, good economy of motion. He’s not overactive in the crease. He’s pretty poised. What I like most about him is he has that natural hockey sense that you need in a goalie where he can see the play developing and unfolding. He senses where those shooting lanes are going to open up, he’s not guessing, and he’s getting in position to make that first save. When you factor in that size, that quickness and that he is in position, he is very tough to beat on that first shot.”
Oettinger will play another year or two at Boston University.
Now the Stars move onto Saturday.
“There’s still a lot of names on our draft board,” McDonnell said. “We are going to get a good player at 39.”