The NHL draft started with a flurry of trade activity with Boston making the most noise trading Milan Lucic and Dougie Hamilton to Los Angeles and Calgary. However, the excitement surrounding a potential top 10 trade or Stars trade at #12 never materialized.
The Stars pick was a surprise to some but Jim Nill and Joe McDonnell got the player they were targeting all along. They selected Russian forward Denis Gurianov who turned 18 just over two weeks ago. He is 6’2, 183 and played last season against men in the KHL for Tolyatti Lada.
Gurianov played 8 KHL games and had 1 assist. However, don’t let those numbers fool you. He might just possess the best shot in the whole 2015 draft. During the NBCSN coverage Craig Button, who was a fan of the pick, went on to say he rated his shot as 5/5. Button also said Gurianov was the only player he gave a 5/5 on shot.
Friday night after the pick Jim Nill was on the phone with Stars Sunday hosts Owen Newkirk and Bruce Levine. Nill confirmed the Stars had been watching Gurianov since last fall. Nill described Gurianov as a power forward with a great shot. He also said he likes to shoot which is unusual for European players and is a great kid.
Nill was asked about the “Russian Factor” and he said the Stars go after the player with the best skills. Nill asked his scouts where Gurianov would be picked if he was North American and they replied in the top 3-5 overall.
It is unknown right now if Gurianov will be at the Stars Development camp (July 6-11) but he will be playing at least another year in the KHL before coming over to North America.
Stars Day 2 Early Action
In terms of day two goals Nill confirmed the Stars would target the best player available. He went on to say he is pleased with the Stars depth at all positions which makes it even easier to focus on the best player available.
Early on day 2 Saturday, the Stars acquired the rights to UFA goalie Antti Niemi for their 7th round pick. Stars shouldn’t have a problem signing him. Plan will be for Kari and Niemi to share the net.
The Stars used their second round pick to draft winger Roope Hintz of Finland’s Ilves Tampere. Hintz, 18, 6’3, 185, 42gp, 5g 12a, 17pts, 10pim and +8. Hintz was teammates with Stars prospect Aleksi Makela last season.
I have a Bachelor of Arts Degree is Sociology from Bridgewater State College. I have covered amateur hockey prospects with Texas roots for the scoutingreport.org, and I am a Dallas Stars writer for The Hockey Writers. I can be reached via Twitter @EdTexmass09.