- Mark Stepneski, ESPNDallas.com
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The Dallas Stars drafted five more players Saturday and they continued to add some size to their pool of prospects.
After selecting 6-7, 244 pound defenseman Jamieson Oleksiak in Friday’s first round, the Stars added a 6-3, 210 pound right wing Brett Ritchie in the second round, 6-6, 200 pound defenseman Troy Vance in fifth round and 6-3 defenseman Jyrki Jokipakka from Finland in the seventh round.
All told, the Stars’ six draft picks over the weekend average 6-3, 201 pounds. The three defensemen they selected averaged 6-5, 212 pounds.
“I think the theme this year was size. We went big,” said Stars GM Joe Nieuwendyk. “You saw the size of the kids we took. Oleksiak at 6-7, a couple of defensemen at 6-6 and 6-3 and wingers at 6-3. Meeting the kids here you could see the common theme was going big.”
Nieuwendyk said the adding size in the draft isn’t a coincidence; it’s the direction the Stars want to move.
“It’s part of the plan. We’ve always stressed that we want to become a team that is hard to play against,” said Nieuwendyk. “You’re certainly going to see that with the group of kids we’ve got coming now. We’re going bigger and you’re trying to maintain some mobility on the back end, which all these guys have. We’re just going to become a quicker, bigger, faster team.”
Brett Ritchie, RW (2nd round/44th overall)
The Stars used their second round pick (44th overall) to take Ritchie, a right wing who plays for Sarnia of the Ontario Hockey League. The 6-3, 210 pound Ritchie had 41 points (21 goals, 20 assists) in 49 games this past season. He missed time due to a bout with mononucleosis. Ritchie wasn’t surprised his name got called by the Stars.
“Going into the draft they were one of the teams I talked to a lot,” Ritchie said. “They showed a lot of interest in me and I wasn’t surprised to be drafted by Dallas. I’m very happy about it.”
Ritchie had a strong second half of the season and was impressive while playing for Canada at the 2011 World Under-18 Championship in April.
“Brett is a big strong winger. He has good hands, shoots the puck well and goes to the net,” said Stars scout Jimmy Johnston. “He has a lot of upside; he will dig in at the walls and works hard.”
Emil Molin, C (4th round/105th overall)
The Stars took Swedish center Emil Molin in the fourth round (105th overall) of the draft. The 6-0, 170 pound Molin put up some impressive numbers in Swedish junior hockey this past season. He had 48 points (17 goals, 31 assists) in 20 games with Brynas (J18 Elite) and had 33 points (14 goals, 19 assists) in 16 games with Brynas (J18 Allsvenskan). He also played nine games with Brynas’ J20 team, picking up one assist.
"Emil is a skilled creative forward who can play center and wing. He is a good two-way player who plays responsibly on defense,” said Stars scout Rickard Oquist. “He's not physically there yet but will get there and he has very good upside. He's a smart player and is very good at setting up his teammates."
Troy Vance, D (5th round/135th overall)
The Stars took Vance, the 6-6, 200 pound defenseman, in the fifth round (135th overall). He started out the season playing junior hockey in the Philadelphia area but switched to the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League with some guidance from Dallas.
"It's amazing to [get drafted by the Stars] because they're the ones that helped me get out to Victoriaville," Vance said. "It all comes back around to them. They got me going."
Vance played 23 games with Victoriaville, registering 4 points (1 goal, 3 assists) and a plus-8 rating. He picked up 4 points (1 goal, 3 assists) in 9 playoff games.
“Troy is a big puck-moving D-man with good poise,” said Stars scout Alex LePore. “He is a good skater for his size and probably will play with the first power play unit next season. He has a ton of upside because he is still learning the position in the Quebec league.”
Matej Stransky, RW (6th round/165th overall)
The Stars took Czech forward Matej Stransky in the sixth round (165th overall). The 6-2, 193 pound right wing played his first season in North America, registering 26 points (14 goals, 12 assists) and a plus-13 rating in 71 games for Saskatoon of the Western Hockey League.
“Matej has great hands. He is very effective below the dots, offensively,” said Stars scout Jimmy Johnston. “He’s a skilled player, a big guy at 6-3 who needs to fill out. We think he will be a difficult guy to deal with for defenses.”
Jyrki Jokipakka, D (7th round/195th overall)
In the seventh round (195th overall), the Stars took Finnish defenseman Jyrki Jokipakka. The 6-3, 191 pound blue liner played for Ilves in Finland’s top league last season, registering 9 points (1 goal, 8 assists) in 48 games.
“Jyrki is a 6-3 defenseman who can skate with good skill,” said Kari Takko, Stars Director of European Scout. He’s just getting his feet wet, as he is a late bloomer.”
2011 Dallas Stars Draft Picks
Click on the profile link for more on each player.