Dallas Stars: Development Camp

Prospects who attended the week-long Dallas Stars development camp packed up and headed home Thursday, but the team hopes the players took a lot of information with them.

“It’s education,” said Jackson. “For the first year players it’s orientation, get to know a little bit about our coaching staff and our styles. For other guys, it’s follow up. For a number of guys, they’ve been here. It’s finding out where they are at in their development as far as strength and conditioning. The on-ice stuff is tremendous. It’s all teaching details of the skill. We’ve been able to touch a lot of areas of the game to help them advance.”

Areas that players can continue to work on as they work out over the summer to prepare for training camp, whether it is with the Stars or somewhere else. There were off-ice workouts and training guidance. And of there was a lot of work on the ice.

“There are drills we can do over the summer to get better,” said Stars defense prospect Hubert Labrie. “Work on moving your feet and keeping your head up when you have the puck.”

A lot of the drills took the players outside their comfort zone, and had them work on areas that weren’t exactly their strengths. This was forward Matt Fraser’s first time at Dallas’ camp, but he’s been to a camp with the Vancouver Canucks before and knows the work pays dividends.

“I’ve been telling a lot of management that I went to Vancouver’s camp last year and it’s amazing to see the difference this year,” said Fraser, who signed with the Stars as a free agent last fall. “A lot of this is working on your stickhandling, your skills and your shooting and really shows you the areas you need to improve on and areas that you do well. If you want to play in the NHL, you’ve got to improve every day. Some drills take you out of your comfort zone, but that’s just part of it.”

The players are tested in different areas. The word is that defenseman Jamie Oleksiak, the Stars’ first round pick (14th overall) in this summer’s draft, was among the most efficient skaters at the camp. Prospects also get feedback from GM Joe Nieuwendyk and others on the Stars’ staff.

“Keep working on your quick feet and keep working on your hands. Little things that are going to make a difference in the long run,” said forward Alex Chiasson, a second round pick (38th overall) in 2009 and a development camp veteran. “I am a big guy and if I make it to the NHL I am going to be a guy that is working down low, so just the little things that are going to help me in college and transfer to the bigger game later.”

For a player like forward Brett Ritchie, the team’s second round pick (44th overall) in this summer’s draft, it also was an opportunity to experience a professional level camp.

“It’s a lot different than what you find in a junior camp or the OHL. These guys are a so much closer to playing pro and some of them are playing pro in the AHL. The caliber is so much higher,” Ritchie said. “You see how hard these guys work, especially the guys that are playing pro right now. Playing in these high tempo drills, you are going to try to take that speed, that tempo back to your junior team and hopefully get better quicker.”

Camp a great experience for Richardson’s Adriano Mungioli

The development camp also featured several players that are not in the Dallas system. Four of them were kids born in the Dallas area, including Adriano Mungioli.

“It’s amazing, especially since it’s the Dallas Stars camp. It’s my hometown. It’s my dream to play here,” said Mungioli. “It’s awesome to see all the guys that are up and coming in the organization.”

Mungioli, an 18-year-old Richardson native, grew up a Stars fan and played with the Highland Park Scots program before moving to Canada at age 14 to further his career. He spent time at the Pursuit of Excellence Hockey Academy in Kelowna, British Columbia and two years at the Okanagan Hockey Academy in Penticton, British Columbia.

Last season he played Junior B hockey with the Penticton Lakers of the KIJHL. Next season he is hoping to land a spot with the Vernon Vipers of the BCHL, and after that maybe college hockey. The word is he’s on the radar of Cornell, Yale or Princeton.

The Dallas camp was a good measuring stick for the skilled, crafty Mungioli, who is listed at 5-9, 175 pounds, and models his style of play on Stars center Mike Ribeiro.

“I am a younger guy here, so it’s a chance to play against some older, better guys, and develop,” he said. “It’s good.”

And it’s a good opportunity to work on his skills. Like the other prospects, it was time to take a trip outside his comfort zone in some of the drills.

“That’s what this whole camp’s theme is – get outside your comfort zone, practice at the things you aren’t strong at so you can get better,” Mungioli said.

While the Dallas camp was a new experience for Mungioli, some of the faces were familiar. He’s spent time working out with the Stars strength and conditioning coach J.J. McQueen.

“He’s tough,” Mungioli said. “He puts you through a lot of stuff and sometimes he’ll have you crawling on your hands and knees after workouts, but it is good.”

The camp was a good as well for the kid who grew up a Stars fan and got a chance to play with some of the team’s top prospects and in front of the team’s management and coaching staff.

“I’ve loved the Stars. We’ve had season tickets. I used to watch them all the time,” Mungioli said. “It’s awesome to actually be here and play with them. It’s actually pretty surreal.”

Thursday development camp notes

July, 7, 2011
The Dallas Stars wrapped up their development camp in McKinney this morning with a skills competition/scrimmage. It started earlier than the schedule said, so I missed the start of it and some people missed just about all of it.

Stars PR said Mike Dalhuisen won the hardest shot with a 106 MPH and Matt Fraser was second at 104 MPH. I didn’t see it, but the PR guys swear those were the numbers.

I did see the scrimmage, which is probably the most interesting thing because you see the players in a game-like situation. A little less than 7 minutes worth scrimmage video is below.

Scott Glennie did not skate today. He remained out with a sore knee.

More on the camp later today and some thoughts on some of the prospects tomorrow. I also talked with several of the prospects over the past week and will short entries on them over the next couple weeks.

Wednesday development camp notes

July, 6, 2011
A few notes from Wednesday’s sessions of Dallas Stars development camp in McKinney.

*Stars prospect Jamie Oleksiak wouldn’t comment on The Hockey News report that he’s decided to try out for Canada’s World Junior team instead of Team USA.

"As of now, we are going no comment. It's definitely a tough decision,” Oleksiak said. “As of now we're still debating what's going to happen over the summer."

Oleksiak, who has dual citizenship, is currently on the evaluation camp roster Team USA. He played for the USA at the 2009 Memorial of Ivan Hlinka tournament. But he’s never played in an International Ice Hockey Federation tournament and once he picks a country to play for in an IIHF event, then he is locked into playing for that country internationally for life.

Oleksiak, Dallas’ first round pick (14th overall) in the 2011 NHL Draft, said picking a country for good is only one thing weighing on his mind as he makes his decision.

“I owe both countries a lot. I grew up in Canada and that’s where I started to get into hockey. That’s where my family has been living,” he said. “At the same time, I moved to the U.S., played junior there and they gave me the first opportunity to play for the USA.

“It’s a tough decision. You can make arguments for both sides. You can’t please everyone, I guess. I am just try to do what best fits for me and what I feel is right.”

*Didn’t see Scott Glennie on the ice today. He’s missed the last couple on-ice sessions due to a sore knee.

*The Stars had a very nice turnout for the autograph session with the prospects. The line was long and when I left at about 5:15 p.m. it was still long.

*The camp wraps up Thursday morning with a skills competition from 10:15 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. at the Dr. Pepper StarCenter in McKinney.

*A lot of the drills the players run in the camp take them out of their comfort zone. They’ll fall at times or lose pucks. But the players say it helps them. One of the drills Wednesday was a shootout where players shot from their opposite side. For Reilly Smith, a left-handed shot, that meant he had to shot as a righty with a right-handed stick.

“When they gave me that right-handed stick I didn’t know what to do with it. I was about to throw it to one of the fans in the stands,” Smith said. “I actually got the game-winner for our team. I can’t complain about that.”

*Video of that shootout is included in today’s video highlights. Also, note the Jack Campbell save on Brett Ritchie from another drill at about 58 seconds into the video.

Tuesday development camp notes/video

July, 5, 2011
Some notes from development camp in McKinney today.

*Players split into two groups again today and while one worked out off the ice in Frisco, the other skated in McKinney. They switched facilities and routines after the lunch break. They’ll do the same tomorrow.

*Forward Scott Glennie didn’t skate today. The Stars said he has a sore knee. Not sure of his status for tomorrow.

*The Hockey News reported today that defenseman Jamie Oleksiak, the Stars first round pick (14th overall) in this summer’s draft, will tryout out for Canada’s World Junior team, not Team USA. There’s been no official word from anyone on this. Media availability was over by the time I saw the report, so I’ll try to ask Oleksiak tomorrow. Oleksiak is currently on the roster for Team USA’s Evaluation camp, but the word is that Canada has been recruiting him. Oleksiak has dual citizenship, so he could play for either team. He played for the U.S. at the 2009 Memorial of Ivan Hlinka tournament, but he’s not officially committed to one country or the other until he plays at an IIHF sanctioned tournament, and the Hlinka doesn’t qualify. The World Juniors does, so it’s a big decision.

*The player who stood out in my eyes at camp today was defenseman Hubert Labrie, a free agent signing back in 2009. He is a battler. Showed some great determination, resolve and smarts in puck battles this afternoon, including a few with a much larger Oleksiak. Labrie missed most of this season due to a knee injury, but returned late in the season and was outstanding in helping Gatineau make it to the QMJHL finals.

*A reminder, the Stars are holding a free autograph session with the prospects at the development camp on Wednesday. Here’s the note from the Stars:
The Dallas Stars will hold a free public autograph session on Wednesday at 5 pm at the McKinney Dr Pepper StarCenter, located off Alma Road north of 121, just behind the Michael Johnson Performance center. All 38 players participating in the Stars Development Camp will be at the autograph session.

*And here’s some video – about 12 minutes worth – of the end of today’s session. There’s plenty of good action, including some of Labrie’s work. He’s #54. By the way, videos from the camp are on my YouTube channel, which is here.

Since I am promoting the YouTube channel, I’ll plug my seldom-plugged Twitter account (@andrewsdsp) and Facebook page.

Listen to Stars goaltending prospect Jack Campbell talk and you hear a lot about patience these days. Learning to be patient in his game and to be patient in getting to where he wants to be.

Campbell, the Stars’ first round pick (11th overall) in 2010, is coming off his first season of major junior hockey. It didn’t begin the way he was hoping.

“It was a pretty rough start, coming from pro camp and having real high expectations of myself and the team,” Campbell said. “It taught me that you’ve got to live in the moment. You can’t get too caught up in where you want to be because that’s not always going to end up how you write it down.”

But Campbell, who was 2-5-0 after his first eight starts, got better as things moved along, had a strong second half and helped the Windsor Spitfires of the Ontario Hockey League make it to the league finals.

“I’ve learned a lot. The first eight games was a rough stretch, but after that I thought I settled down and had a real good playoff run,” he said. “Now, I feel like I am ready to take that next step.”

But his game is still a work in progress, he said, and getting to the next level – the pro level – is going to require patience in the way he plays.

“The biggest thing for myself is slowing my game down and being more patient,” Campbell said. “You look at NHL guys, obviously they have quickness and size – hopefully things I can portray one day in the NHL – but I have to try to slow everything down and feel a little bit more calm in the net.”

Campbell, who is one of several Dallas prospects current skating at the team’s development camp in McKinney, would love nothing more than to come into training camp in September and show that’s ready to take the next step and earn a spot in the ECHL or AHL. But he’s ready to let things play out and strive to be his best where ever he ends up. Chances are that is going to be another year in the OHL because the Stars are going to be patient with the young goaltender.

“That’s what you love about him. He’s a passionate kid that loves to play and wants to get to the NHL,” said Les Jackson, Dallas Stars Director of Scouting and Player Development. “Like all those guys, they want to get there today but the timetable says it’s a little later. I think in the ideal world, we’ll bring him to camp and he’ll probably end up back in Windsor. That’s the natural progression. He’ll get a lot of games there and a lot of experience and we’ll see a year down the road from there.”

The Stars like how Campbell is progressing and what he did in his first season in the Canadian Hockey League, which includes the OHL, WHL and QMJHL. It’s was a big jump for the 19-year-old and the Stars believe he learned some hard, but valuable lessons..

“Campbell is an amazing prospect. Going to the Canadian Hockey League was the best experience for him,” said Jackson. “Traditionally what happens with a lot of the American kids that go in is that the Canadian League is a challenge for them. It’s a tough league and there’s a lot of competition. He went through that adversity and he showed at the World Junior his caliber.”

Campbell was superb for Team USA at the World Junior Championship in Buffalo, leading his team to a bronze medal with a 5-1 record, 1.70 goals against average and a .941 save percentage. His performance earned him the tournament’s Best Goalkeeper award.

That showing at the World Juniors helped propel him to a strong second half of the season in the OHL. He went 12-4-4 over his final 20 decisions to end the season with a 24-14-4 record, 3.80 goals against average and a .884 save percentage. He was 9-9 in the playoffs with a 3.74 GAA and .887 save percentage. The goals against numbers may seem high and the save percentage a bit low, but the OHL is an offensive league.

“The key thing is he finished off really strong and was arguably one of their MVP’s in the playoffs,” said Stars goaltending coach Mike Valley. “That should give him a lot of confidence and help continue to build that foundation that we’re building for him.”

Campbell was hard at work prior to development camp getting ready for the 2011-12 campaign.

“I’ve put on 18 pounds trying to get ready for the next season,” Campbell said. “Size, strength, quickness and flexibility I’ve been hitting hard. I think you’ll see a big difference in my game this upcoming season.”

The Stars like Campbell’s work ethic and his commitment to improve. But there’s one attribute that the Stars believe will help propel him to the NHL.

“He’s one of the most highly competitive players, not just goaltenders, but players that we’ve seen,” said Valley. “He battles so hard every single day that he is in that crease. It doesn’t matter if it is development camp or the playoffs or any time of the year, when he gets in the net he wants to stop every single puck. That’s a trait that is so important to have, and ultimately that’s the trait that’s going to make him into a top NHL goaltender.”

Stars development camp

There were no on-ice activities at Dallas Stars development camp on Monday. The team focused on team building activities. The team will resume on-ice sessions Tuesday at the Dr. Pepper StarCenter in McKinney. The first session runs from 9:30 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. The afternoon session runs from 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. All on-ice sessions are open to the public.

Sunday development camp notes

July, 3, 2011
Some notes from Sunday’s Dallas Stars development camp in McKinney.

*At the end of today’s session the prospects had their slap shots timed. Each player got two shots. I didn’t get the numbers for every player because I didn't realize what they were doing until a few of the players had already shot.

A note on the numbers: they were recorded using a combination of me listening them to them being called out and someone using a telephoto lens to catch them on an LED readout. In other words, they aren’t exactly official.

The hardest shot – at least when I was watching – went to defenseman Mike Dalhuisen, who registered 97 MPH. Dalhuisen, who is from Holland, is one of the tryout players at the camp. He played at Quinnipiac University last season.

Forward Stephen Schultz hit 93 MPH. Schultz, another tryout player, wrapped up a four-year career at Colorado College last season and then played five games for the Texas Stars on an amateur tryout contract.

A few players hit 92 MPH, including Stars defense prospects Jamieson Oleksiak and Brenden Dillon. Also in the 92 MPH club was forward Armand DeSwardt, one of the local players taking part in the camp. DeSwardt, who was born in Dallas, played at Cornell University last season.

Here are numbers for the Dallas prospects at the camp in the order that I saw them shoot and with their hardest shot listed. Those I didn’t see shoot were Scott Glennie and Emil Molin.

John Klingberg: 83
Jamieson Oleksiak: 92
Matt Fraser: 91
Brenden Dillon: 92
Brett Ritchie: 87
Patrik Nemeth: 89
Troy Vance: 89
Mathieu Tousignant: 72
Scott Winkler: 89
Alex Guptill: 86
Mike Bergin: 85
Alex Theriau: 89
Hubert Labrie: 83
Tomas Vincour: 90
Alex Chiasson: 90
Jyrki Jokipakka: 90
Reilly Smith: 88

*Tomas Vincour was on the ice for the first time at the camp today. He missed the first two days of on-ice sessions because his luggage got lost as he was flying in to Dallas and he had no gear. He spent those first two days on off-ice workouts.

*Among those on hand watching the prospects today: GM Joe Nieuwendyk, head coach Glen Gulutzan, associate coach Willie Desjardins and assistant coach Stu Barnes. Assistant coach Paul Jerrard and goaltending coach Mike Valley both have been on the ice working with the prospects.

*The Stars are going to have a free autograph session with the prospects this week. It will be held Wednesday July 6 at 5 pm at the McKinney Dr. Pepper StarCenter.

*Finally, here’s some video of today’s session. Note the Tyler Beskorowany glove save on Matt Fraser at about 3:34 into the video.

Development camp video

July, 2, 2011
Here's some video from Saturday afternoon's session of Dallas Stars development camp in McKinney. This one has forwards running a drill.

Among those taking part are two of the team's top prospects: 2009 second round pick Alex Chiasson (#47) and 2009 third round pick Reilly Smith (#43).

Also in the video are 2011 second round pick Brett Ritchie (#24), 2011 fourth round pick Emil Molin (#25), 2010 third round pick Alex Guptill and 2008 third round pick Scott Winkler (#68).

Saturday development camp notes

July, 2, 2011
A few notes from development camp in McKinney this morning:

*Defenseman Jamieson Oleksiak, Dallas’ first round pick (14th overall) in 2011, said he is still undecided on whether he’ll return to Northeastern University next season or go another development route. He’s waiting to see how Northeastern’s search for a new head coach turns out.

“Obviously, we don’t want to make a decision until Northeastern finds a head coach. I don’t think that would be fair,” Oleksiak said. “The program has been phenomenal; they’ve done a lot to help me. Just waiting to see what coach they bring in. My ultimate goal is to play professional hockey one day, so it’s a matter of where I’ll do most of my developing or developing more to get ready for that next level.”

Greg Cronin, who had been head coach of Northeastern, has taken a job as an assistant coach with the Toronto Maple Leafs.

*Stars Director of Scouting and Player Development Les Jackson talked briefly with the media today. Here’s a quote on forward Scott Glennie, the team’s first round pick (8th overall) in 2009:

“Like a lot of young guys there are bumps along the way and it’s educating him on the different lessons he has to go through. I think the experience he had last with Texas (AHL) at the end of the year was invaluable," Jackson said. "We’ll bring him to camp, but he’ll likely start in Texas. He needs that experience. We’ll probably keep him at center ice. It’s kind of a new position for him, he’s only been there one year. I saw him play a lot last year and I liked what I’ve seen. He’s making advancements.”

Glennie has been training with Gary Roberts, the team’s player development consultant. Roberts currently is at the development camp.

*A center of attention at camp today was Julian Ramirez, a native of Mexico who played this past season at the University of Nuevo Leon in Monterrey, Mexico. Univision was out in McKinney doing a feature on him and he got some attention from some other local media as well.

*In the morning drills, the groups were split into forwards and defensemen. Here’s some video of the defensemen going through some drills.

Development camp notes

July, 1, 2011
Went out to McKinney today to check out a little bit of development camp. I got there late and my watching time got cut short because of the conference calls related to the free-agency signings, but I was able to watch some of the drills and take in a few moments of the recent draft picks like Jamieson Oleksiak, Brett Ritchie, Troy Vance and Emil Molin.

I've seen most of the other Dallas prospects before, so I am pretty familiar with them. This camp, at least for me, is to get my first good look at the new draft picks. I won't read too much into what I see, but it I can usually take something out of it. I usually wait until the camp is over before I offer some thoughts.

I will offer one thought tonight. My opinion of defenseman John Klingberg, the fifth round pick out of Sweden last year, goes up every time I see him.

Tomas Vincour didn't take part in today's session. His luggage got lost on the way here, so he had no gear.

I'll be out there all weekend, watching, taking notes and doing some interviews. Anyway, here's some video from today. Oleksiak (#5), Vance (#42), Scott Glennie (#46) and Matt Fraser (#18) are among the players taking part in the drill. That's Tyler Beskorowany in goal.

Monday morning notes: Development camp

June, 27, 2011
Some Monday morning notes:

*The Stars will hold a development camp for prospects starting Friday (July 1) at the Dr. Pepper StarCenter in McKinney, and will run one week. It's being held in McKinney because of a scheduling conflict with the rinks in Frisco. Stars 2011 first round draft pick Jamieson Oleksiak is scheduled to attend along with several other of the team's top prospects. A roster and schedule of the on-ice sessions should come in a day or two.

*Former Stars player Ed Belfour heads the class of first-year eligible players for the Hockey Hall of Fame. Stars GM Joe Nieuwendyk, who missed in his first year of eligibility last year, is a strong candidate again this year. The Hall of Fame Class of 2011 will be announced Tuesday afternoon. The list of candidates, which includes some other former Stars, is here.

*The NHL's plan for realignment in 2012-13 could entail more than just shuffling a few teams around. Some reports indicate it could involve changing from the current six divisions to four. That would be a major overhaul. Some details on that are here.