Dallas Stars: Jamieson Oleksiak

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.

Draft thoughts: Stars get big

June, 26, 2011
A few thoughts and observations on this weekend’s NHL Draft:

* The Stars definitely went with size in this draft and GM Joe Nieuwendyk said it wasn’t a coincidence. The plan was to get some bigger prospects, and I don’t think they sacrificed anything by going that route. The two big defenseman -- Jamieson Oleksiak (6-7/244) and Troy Vance (6-6/200) -- are mobile puck movers. Forward Brett Ritchie (6-3/210) has some skill and offensive upside. So, it wasn’t just size alone. These are some big kids with skill.

*Oleksiak going to the Stars at 14th overall wasn’t a big shocker. He was linked to the Stars in some mock drafts and those compilation rankings I put together just prior to the draft had him ranked 14th. He was going in the Stars’ range. It was much the same with Ritchie, who was projected to go anywhere from the early to late second round. The Stars took him in the middle of the round.

*The pick of center Emil Molin in the fourth round was a surprise. I couldn’t find him on any of the rankings, but this is why teams have their own scouts do the work. Molin put up impressive numbers in Swedish juniors. Defenseman John Klingberg, taken by the Stars in the fifth round last year, wasn’t on any of the rankings and he’s turned out to be a promising prospect. Very promising. We’ll see is the Stars have found another good prospect out of Sweden with Molin.

*The Stars nabbed a sleeper in the fifth round with Vance, who was basically off the radar until he jumped from the Eastern Junior Hockey League to major junior in Canada. Red Line Report listed him as one of the mid-round sleepers in the draft worth a look because of how well he played after making the jump to the Quebec Major Junior Hockey league. The Stars played a role in Vance going to QMJHL. Again, this was the Stars scouting staff toiling away and, who knows, they may have found another fifth round gem. Time will tell.

*Their sixth round pick, Matej Stransky, has just started his transition to North America. His numbers with Saskatoon were OK, but he did put some impressive numbers in Czech junior hockey. It will be interesting how he does next season.

*Defenseman Jyrki Jokipakka, the seventh round pick, played in Finland’s top league and also had a good showing at the World Juniors. He’s got some size at 6-3 and mobility.

*Overall, it looks like a good group of picks. You won’t know how good a draft it was for a few years. None of these guys is expected to have an immediate impact. The Stars don’t rush prospects and will give them time to develop. If they get a couple of NHL players out of it, that’s pretty good. If they get more than a couple, that’s even better. The reason teams don’t like to lose picks is because the more you have the better the chances that you’ll get some prospects that will develop into good NHL players. Drafting 17-, 18- and 19-year-olds and projecting where they’ll be in five years isn’t an exact science. The wider you cast the net, the better chance you’ll haul in a few.

*ESPN.com’s Draft Blog gave the Stars a grade of B for their 2011 draft. Gare Joyce writes:
“The Stars are in flux because of ownership and the impending departure of Brad Richards. Whether they came away with a new identity here or not is an open question. They did come away bigger, though. Jamieson Oleksiak is a beast. I don't remember a tall kid as solidly built, and it's not early maturing. He still has room to grow and pack on more muscle. Brett Ritchie is the kind of slowly emerging player that the Stars have had success with (e.g., Jamie Benn). I don't know if Ritchie can score but he has all the moving parts (skating, size, decent puck skills). I didn't get much of a sense of urgency and passion in his game, though.”

*It will be interesting to see what happens with Oleksiak, who said Friday that he was unsure if he would return to Northeastern next season or go another route on his development path. Nieuwendyk said Saturday he “suspects” Oleksiak will spend another year of two in college.

*It was big weekend for Dallas-Fort Worth hockey as three kids who were born in this area and got their start in hockey here were drafted Saturday. Plano native Stefan Noesen went 21st overall to Ottawa. Noesen was a guy the Stars liked, but the Stars weren’t going to take him at 14 and he wasn’t going to be around at 44. Plano’s Blake Coleman went to New Jersey in the third round with the pick the Devils got from the Stars in the Jamie Langenbrunner deal. Coppell's Colin Jacobs went to the Buffalo in the fourth round. The Stars deserve a lot of credit for this. They didn’t show up and play back in 1993; they did a nice job of helping the game grow at the grass-roots level by building rinks all over the area.