When then-Dallas Stars general manager Joe Nieuwendyk dealt Jaromir Jagr to the Boston Bruins in exchange for a conditional draft pick and prospects Lane MacDermid and Cody Payne at this year’s NHL trade deadline, it was one of lowest out of many low moments in a frustrating season for the Stars.
The 41 year-old Jagr, a guaranteed lock to be a Hall Of Famer at the end of his career, was signed before the season to help lead the Stars back to the playoffs, and was the team’s leading scorer at the time of the trade. With Dallas well out of the playoff picture at the time, Jagr’s departure was an obvious sign that the team had lost confidence in its playoff chances that season, and was instead resorting to looking towards the future.
It was about as distressing and frustrating a time as possible for Stars fans.
However, now just a month and a half later, spirits surrounding the organization are high and only getting higher. The reason? The 2013 NHL Entry Draft, held on June 30, is fast approaching.
The aforementioned conditional pick that Dallas received for Jagr was initially Boston’s 2013 2nd rounder, but it was upgraded to their 2013 1st rounder when the Bruins met the agreed-upon condition of reaching the Eastern Conference Finals, thanks to their 4-1 series victory over the New York Rangers. And considering Jagr is still goalless in 12 postseason games for the Bruins and looking every day of those 41 years, the initially negative opinion of that trade has all but dissipated.
With that pick the Stars now have two 1st rounders for the draft, as well as two 2nd rounders, the second of which was acquired from the Vancouver Canucks in exchange for Derek Roy. Holding a total of four picks in the draft’s top 60 slots, the Stars are primed for one of the biggest draft days in the franchise’s history. In a draft that is widely considered to be the deepest and most talented since the renowned 2003 draft, having so many high picks allows the Stars multiple chances to select guys that could be huge impact players for the Stars not far down the road. Stars fans on Twitter and elsewhere on the internet are already in deep debate about which top draft-eligible prospects they think the Stars should target.
Beyond the first two rounds, the Stars only hold their own picks in the 4th, 5th, and 6th rounds, but they also have the Edmonton Oilers’ 3rd rounder, the Pittsburgh Penguins’ 5th rounder, and the Florida Panthers’ 7th rounder, for a total of 10 picks overall. Should the Stars decide to try and trade up to go for quality prospects over quantity, the Stars have more than enough assets at their disposal to make such moves.
Now well into a rebuild that was primarily initiated by Nieuwendyk four years ago, the Stars already have a deep stable of impressive prospects spread out across all positions. Quickly becoming one of the league’s more well-regarded teams in terms of future potential, a successful day at the 2013 draft could propel the Stars’ prospects group into elite territory and put the final pieces in place for a foundation that will eventually reap benefits for Dallas at the NHL level for years to come.