The Dallas Stars selected Ty Dellandrea at pick No. 13 in the first round of the 2018 NHL Draft. Looking back on that draft, Dellandrea marks a significant drop-off in the immediate talent shown in the picks before him. Most of those players have already established themselves as effective members of their teams, while he struggled in his first season in the NHL.
It would be unfair to compare him with the elite talent that Andrei Svechnikov and Quinn Hughes have flashed since the 2018-19 season, as both players are approaching their fourth year in the league and were much higher on the draft board. However, the New York Islanders selected Oliver Wahlstrom and Noah Dobson with picks No. 11 and No. 12 in that same draft, and both players contributed to the Islanders’ run to the semifinal this past season.
With injuries to prominent players in Tyler Seguin and Alexander Radulov, the 2020-21 season was a perfect opportunity for Dellandrea to solidify a role on the team. Even if his play was mediocre, he could’ve sealed a roster spot for the 2021-22 season. The Stars are tight on salary cap room, and the expansion draft guarantees a player will leave the roster, creating a hole that Dellandrea can fill. He, unfortunately, couldn’t do much with plenty of ice time and a weakened lineup above him.
Dellandrea played 26 games in total this season, amassing three goals and two assists. In his first three games, he averaged 17 minutes of ice time and played 24 to 25 shifts. Ironically, he scored his first NHL goal in his fourth game, having only around 12 minutes of ice time. It’s too early to call him a bust, but he is displaying that he seemingly needs more seasoning in the minors, as echoed by coach Rick Bowness.
“He works so hard every game, and in the shootouts in practice he is excellent. He gives you 100 percent in every game, and you know that,” Bowness said. “As a 20-year-old kid, he would benefit playing a little bit in Austin, but that’s not going to happen, and give him great credit. He is playing hard, and he hits everybody, and he gives you everything he can every shift. Is there inexperience showing? Absolutely, but that’s to be expected. He is all heart and is a great teammate, and he gives you everything he can every shift and that’s all you can ask as a coach.”
Dellandrea has showcased his scoring prowess in the Ontario Hockey League (OHL). He led the Flint Firebirds in points in his draft year and had 70 points in 47 games during the 2019-20 OHL season. He had 215 shots on goal that season with the Firebirds, a far cry from the 31 he had with the Stars in 2020-21. He needs to start translating what he’s doing in the OHL to the NHL.
What’s His Future?
Dellandrea’s playtime for next season will depend on the moves made this offseason. The Stars let go of veteran pieces Corey Perry and Mattias Janmark before the 2020-21 season, in part, to distribute playing time amongst younger players. If Andrew Cogliano doesn’t return to the team next year, Dellandrea could be welcomed back to the top nine without much competition.
The same goes for if Jason Dickinson gets picked by the Seattle Kraken in the expansion draft. Deallandrea may even benefit from Dickinson leaving, as he may get time on the third line over Cogliano and Blake Comeau. With Jamie Benn centering the line, Dellandrea can produce more steadily over an 82-game season.
If the Kraken select goalie Anton Khudobin, Dellandrea will need to fight to save his spot in the lineup. With Seguin and Radulov returning healthy next season, they will be fighting for first-line roles against Joe Pavelski, Benn, and Jason Robertson. Dellandrea was given a significant role at the beginning of last season and struggled to score at all. For the 2021-22 season, he will be fighting an uphill battle to gain consistent ice time.
The Stars seem to be interested in pursuing Blake Coleman this offseason. Coleman is comparable to Blake Comeau, with a little more scoring ability. The addition of Coleman to the team could further push Dellandrea out of the fold. Coleman’s contract is estimated at around $2 million a year, meaning that it would be easier to fit his financially small contract under the Stars’ cap situation.
It’s tough to predict the future. Dellandrea was a stud in the OHL, and he struggled in somewhat limited time in the NHL. It would be interesting to see him slotted around players like Pavelski or Robertson for his scoring potential, but he didn’t earn that with his play in the 2020-21 season. If the Stars don’t have room for him next year, he will benefit from playing in the AHL. Coach Rick Bowness is pleased with Dellanrea’s efforts and playing style, but he also voiced concerns about how NHL-ready he is. The 20-year-old had a lackluster season, but the Stars will have another stud forward on the team if he can find his footing in the coming years.
Overall Yearly Grade : D
Dallas Stars writer at ‘The Hockey Writers’. I’ve previously covered college sports at the University at Albany. I secretly love to analyze trades from the past and observe the impact on a team’s future.