There’s been plenty of hype surrounding 6-foot-7 Jamie Oleksiak, who the Stars took with the 14th overall pick in 2011.
Now, Dallas is ready for him to make good on that potential.
The Stars signed Oleksiak to a one-year contract extension on Tuesday, and GM Jim Nill wasted little time explaining what the club wants out of him moving forward.
“Jamie brings size and a physical element to our backend,” said Nill, in a release. “We’re expecting him to have a solid summer of training and development and look forward to him competing for a regular spot in our lineup.”
Oleksiak, who turns 24 in December, has struggled to find his fit at the NHL level. He made his debut three years ago but has only appeared in 78 career contests, and just 19 last season.
Of course, things are trending in favorable direction for Oleksiak, as the Dallas defense has undergone a major overhaul this summer. Gone are veterans Alex Goligoski (Arizona), Jason Demers (Florida) and, presumably, Kris Russell (still unsigned).
Nill did bring in a veteran replacement in Dan Hamhuis, but it’s clear the Stars are looking to get better internally, and utilize the deep pool of prospects they’ve been so infatuated with.
Last summer, owner Gaglardi raved about the club’s blueline depth, saying “we’ve got the deepest bench of defense prospects in the league quite honestly.”
Technically speaking, Oleksiak is part of that group — thought he’s not all that young anymore. As such, he’s probably going to be challenged by a number of others, like Stephen Johns (who emerged as a regular during this year’s playoffs), Patrik Nemeth, Esa Lindell and, quiet possibly, some of the club’s more recent draftees, like Ludwig Bystrom (43rd overall, ’12), Niklas Hansson (68th overall, ’13) and Julius Honka (14th overall, ’14).