The Stars held only five picks in the 2008 NHL Draft. Most of their picks came in the later rounds, so they knew it would be tough to find players that could make an immediate difference. Here is a look at how those players turned out.
Early Rounds 1&2
Second Round (59th overall): Tyler Beskorowany, Goalie (Owen Sound Attack, OHL)
Beskorowany played in 0 NHL games in his career. He played two seasons with the Texas Stars but struggled in his second season with a .886 save percentage. After that season, he was sent to the ECHL and then bounced around between NHL organizations. He remained in the ECHL and AHL until the end of the 2015-2016 season, when he would move to the DEL. He played across multiple leagues before ending up in Europe, where he started this season.
Middle Rounds 3&4
Third Round (89th overall): Scott Winkler, Center (Russel Stover, KC Midgets)
Winkler played in 0 NHL games in his career. He played four seasons at Colorado College after Dallas drafted him, where he drastically improved as his college career went on, scoring 28 points in his senior year. Unfortunately, just a month after his graduation in 2013, he was found deceased in his home.
His sudden death shocked the hockey world and is still unexplained to this day.
Late Rounds 5-7
Fifth Round (149th overall): Philip Larsen, Defense (Frolunda HC, SEL)
Larsen has played in 151 NHL games in his career, 95 of which were in a Stars sweater. After making his NHL debut in the 2009-2010 season, he played 55 games the following season, recording 11 points.
He had trouble finding consistent play, and after the lockout-shortened 2012-13 season, he was traded along with a draft pick to the Edmonton Oilers in exchange for veteran forward Shawn Horcoff. Larsen played in only 30 NHL games for the Oilers before moving to the KHL for two seasons. He returned for a very brief stint with the Vancouver Canucks in the 2016-2017 season before returning to the KHL, where he is currently playing for Ufa Salavat Yulayev.
Sixth Round (176th overall): Matt Tassone, Left Wing (Swift Current Broncos, WHL)
Tassone played in 0 NHL games in his career. He played only 32 games in the Dallas organization for the Idaho Steelheads of the ECHL before he moved on. He bounced around from multiple teams, playing in the ECHL, CHL, and briefly in the AHL before retiring after the 2014-2015 season.
Seventh Round (209th overall): Mike Bergin, Defense (Smiths Falls Bears, CJCHL)
Bergin played in 0 NHL games in his career. After the Stars drafted him, he played four seasons at R.P.I., where he competed in most of the team’s games in his final three seasons. After two seasons in the SWE-1 league, he played four seasons in the ECHL, with both Elmira and Adirondack, before ending his career in 2018.
Braden Holtby, Goalie (Saskatoon Blades, WHL) (93rd overall)
Holtby has played in 479 NHL games in his career. He became a staple for the Washington Capitals in the 2012-13 season and would serve as their starter for seven seasons, playing in as many as 73 games in a campaign. He won the Vezina Trophy as the league’s best goaltender in the 2015-16 season when he won 48 of his 66 starts and held a .922 save percentage. However, he undoubtedly shined his brightest in the 2017-18 season when he led the Capitals to their first-ever Stanley Cup.
Not only was he stellar throughout the playoffs, with 16 wins in 22 starts, but he also made one of the greatest saves in NHL history in Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final. Holtby has since moved on to the Vancouver Canucks, where he splits time with Thatcher Demko, the young future of the team.
Other Notable Players
Michael Stone (69th), Zack Smith (79th), Adam Henrique (82nd), T.J. Brodie (114th), Gustav Nyquist (121st), Matt Calvert (127th), Jared Spurgeon (156th), Cam Atkinson (157th)
With only 95 total NHL games between the five draft picks, this was a dismal draft for the Stars. Larsen did not contribute much to the team in those 95 games and was eventually traded. The only reason the rating is not even lower is because of the trade that sent Larsen to Edmonton in exchange for Horcoff. Horcoff brought a veteran presence to a young Dallas team and helped them reach the playoffs for the first time in six seasons in the 2014-2015 season. With the names remaining on this list, it was a rough year for the organization.
Sam Nestler is a Dallas Stars contributor for the ‘The Hockey Writers’. Growing up in New Jersey, Sam has been playing hockey since he was 7 years old. Developing a love for writing in college, Sam uses his hockey knowledge to create analyses and articles on every aspect of the game. Sam also hosts his own podcast on Spotify, the “Slapshot Sammy’ podcast, breaking down action across the NHL and NCAA. Check out the podcast here, and give his latest article a read!