Next up in our Dallas Stars’ Draft Picks series is the 2010 NHL Draft. Following 2009, when all of the team’s drafting success came from trades down the line, the organization needed a pick or two that could make a difference for them immediately. In 2010, management had only five picks to work with, with large gaps between them. Here is how those five picks turned out.
Early Rounds 1&2
First Round (11th overall): Jack Campbell, Goaltender (U.S. National Development Team, USHL)
Jack Campbell expected to be the Stars’ future in goal. He was their top prospect, and they took a chance on him early in the first round, selecting him 11th overall. Unfortunately, nothing worked out as planned. After he was drafted and finished his time in the United States Hockey League and Ontario Hockey League, Campbell played a few up and down seasons with the Texas Stars of the American Hockey League (AHL).
In 2013-14, he made his NHL debut, a 41-save performance that conceded six goals in a lopsided loss to the Anaheim Ducks. That was his only NHL game with the organization, and he bounced between the AHL and ECHL for the next few seasons. In 2016, he was traded to the Los Angeles Kings in exchange for defenseman Nick Ebert.
During his professional career, Campbell struggled with mental health issues and confidence. In 2020-21, following four inconsistent seasons in the Kings organization, he had his breakthrough with the Toronto Maple Leafs. During the shortened season and after multiple injuries left them thin on netminders, Campbell took over. He responded by winning his first 11 starts and could be the answer for the Maple Leafs going forward.
Second Round (41st overall): Patrik Nemeth, Defense (AIK Jr., SWE-Jr)
Nemeth made his debut for the Texas Stars in 2012-13, playing in 47 games and earning a hefty plus-11 rating. He was a solid defensive player and continued to play well the following season, increasing his ice time and improving to a plus-19 rating. During that 2013-14 season, he made his NHL debut, playing in eight games for the Stars. However, he struggled to make an impact, which continued for the next few seasons. From 2014 to 2017, he played in 100 NHL games but couldn’t find the consistency to stay in the lineup. He was a minus player each season and only chipped in a total of 14 points.
After signing a one-year extension with the Stars before the 2017-18 season, Nemeth failed to make the roster. He was placed on waivers following training camp and was picked up by the Colorado Avalanche. Since then, he has played for the Detroit Red Wings, was traded back to Colorado, and then recently signed with the New York Rangers heading into the 2021-22 season.
Middle Rounds 3&4
Third Round (77th overall): Alexander Guptill, Center (Orangeville Crushers, OJHL)
Guptil played three seasons with the Michigan Wolverines after he was drafted by the Stars. Following his final season in Michigan in 2013-14, he played in five games for the Texas Stars. That would be it for his career with the Dallas organization, and he was traded to the Ottawa Senators along with Alex Chiasson and Nicholas Paul in July 2014. This trade turned out well for the Stars, who received Jason Spezza in return. As noted in the 2009 Draft review, Spezza became an important player in Dallas. He scored over 60 points in all three seasons with the club and helped them finish first in the Western Conference in 2015-16 under head coach Lindy Ruff.
“It’s hard to pick one moment,” Spezza said when asked about his favorite moments in Dallas. “Playoffs are obviously the best, like beating Minnesota and beating Nashville last year. Winning playoff rounds bonds you more than anything. We had a year where we led the Western Conference in wins and we were scoring lots of goals.”
Guptil never played an NHL game, bouncing between the AHL, ECHL, and recently the Emerald Coast Ice Hockey League where he last played in 2019-20.
Fourth Round (109th overall): Alex Theriau, Defense (Everett Silver Tips, WHL)
Theriau never made it to Texas, playing nearly his entire career in the Western Hockey League. Unfortunately, a hip injury during the 2012-13 season forced him to retire at only 20 years old.
Late Rounds 5-7
Fifth Round (131st overall): John Klingberg, Defense (Vastra Frolunda Jr., SWE-Jr)
John Klingberg was a hidden gem in the 2010 Draft. It took a few seasons until he made his way to Dallas, but once he did during the 2014-15 season, he never looked back. It only took 10 games (and 12 points) in the AHL for Dallas to realize they needed him in the NHL. In seven seasons with the Stars, he has played in 478 games and recorded 327 points. He is one of the top offensive defensemen in the league and excels on the power play. His career-high came in 2017-18 when he recorded 67 points in 82 games.
Known as a playmaker, Klingberg usually exceeds 30 points a season, including the two most recent shortened seasons. Aside from his offensive production, he has become a leader on the blue line and in the locker room. Wearing an “A” on his sweater as an alternate captain, he is one of the most vocal players on the team and leads by example on the ice. Although his seven-year contract is coming to an end after the 2021-22 season, he is only 28 years old, and Stars general manager Jim Nill has made it clear he is a big part of their future.
Expect management to do whatever they can to extend his contract and hopefully, Klingberg will remain in Dallas for his entire career.
While there are plenty of great players in this draft class, I don’t believe the Stars would trade any of them for Klingberg. He is a huge part of the organization and has been their best defenseman for years. Although the four picks before him did not turn out well, this fifth-round gem has developed into a top offensive defenseman in the league, making this draft class a success.
Other Notable Players
Cam Fowler (12th overall), Jaden Schwartz (14th overall), Vladimir Tarasenko (16th overall), Kevin Hayes (24th overall), Evgeny Kuznetsov (26th overall), Brock Nelson (30th overall), Justin Faulk (37th overall), Tyler Toffoli (47th overall), Jason Zucker (59th overall), Phillip Grubauer (112th overall), Zach Hyman (123rd overall), Brendan Gallagher (147th overall), Mark Stone (178th overall),
Overall Draft Rating
This makes back-to-back years that the Stars found success at the draft. In 2009, it came from trades, but in 2010 there were mixed results. Bringing in Spezza in a trade for Guptil was important to the team’s success, but the bigger piece was Klingberg. It is rare to find a franchise-changing player that late in the draft, and he made up for management’s lack of success with their other picks. If they can re-sign him before next summer, this draft rating will be even higher.
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!