Tag: Patrik Nemeth

2010 NHL Draft Portraits

Looking to make the leap: Stephen Johns


To some Dallas Stars fans, the Patrick Sharp trade was as much about grabbing Stephen Johns as anything else.

(Granted, that might be a small sampling, but there was such chatter.)

Following the move, Stars GM Jim Nill probably summarized the most exciting takes: he’s the sort of defenseman the franchise might just be lacking.

“Stephen was a big part of that trade,” Nill said. “We’re trying to change a little bit of the dimension of our back end … he’s 6-foot-4, 220 lbs. and can skate.”

That’s what makes the 23-year-old especially interesting: while he packs some punch and snarl – relevant factors on a blueline that leans more toward finesse – it sounds like he’s swift enough that he won’t bring the Stars’ high-octane attack to a crawl.

Of course, it’s a big assumption that Johns can make the roster.

The Stars currently have eight defensemen under contract, and while some seem like they could be trade fodder if needed (Jason Demers?), Johns would need to impress to force the Stars’ hand.

Johns thinks he has what it takes, at least.

“Personally, I think I’m ready but it’s not up to me,” Johns said in July, according to the Dallas Morning News. “I’m going to do the best that I can, play the best hockey I can, and try to impress them.”

If you’re looking at young players who have the highest odds of making the team, Johns isn’t that guy.

One would think that Patrik Nemeth, Jamie Oleksiak and Jyrki Jokipakka would have a significant head start after playing quite a few NHL games in 2014-15. To some extent, they made their leaps – or steps up – already, however.

Johns is a more interesting story to follow during training camp. There’s a good chance that he’s not even the prospect with the highest ceiling hoping to make an impression – Julius Honka fits that bill – but Johns is at the age where he must be getting awfully antsy for a longer look.

For all we know, he may prove that he’s just too useful to send to the AHL.

Dallas has ‘deepest bench of defense prospects in the league,’ says owner

Dallas Stars Unveil New Logo and Uniforms

Though his team’s defensive play left plenty to be desired last season, Stars owner Tom Gaglardi is bullish on the blueline’s future.

“We’ve got the deepest bench of defense prospects in the league quite honestly,” Gaglardi told the Stars website this week.

The remark came during a wide-ranging interview about the club’s offseason moves. It’s certainly an interesting one to make — Dallas allowed the fourth-most goals per game last year (3.13) — though Gaglardi had no issues explaining his thought process:

— John Klingberg “has become the player we thought he might be able to become and maybe even better than that.”

— Patrik Nemeth “is a top four defenseman for a long time in the league.”

— Jyrki Jokipakka, “a seventh-round draft pick, two years ago he is a guy who has a chance and he comes in and plays, and he’s an NHLer.”

Those three, all 23 or younger, make up the core of Dallas’ young defensive prospect pool. But according to Gaglardi, there’s plenty of talent behind them:

“The list of guys back there – [Esa] Lindell is going to be a player, [Mattias] Backman, [Ludwig] Bystrom. In terms of the roster guys, there’s [Jokipakka] and Jordie Benn is capable to playing great hockey and [Jamie] Oleksiak is a first-rounder who is in that group as well. There’s a lot of promise there.

A year or two ago there were guys who were concepts and have now proven they can play at the NHL level and give us lots of options. We’ve got a healthy situation. We’ve got six spots for a game and eight guys on one-way contracts that are going to be battling to play.

And there are some guys coming up that have the capability to knock those guys out in Stephen Johns, Lindell and [Julius] Honka.”

It’ll be interesting to see which of the guys Gaglardi mentioned, if any, will push for minutes this year. Dallas’ top six looks to be comprised of Johnny Oduya, Alex Goligoski, Jason Demers, Klingberg, Nemeth and Jokipakka, with Benn and Oleksiak as the Nos. 7 and 8.

Just don’t set that in stone.

Johns, acquired in the Patrick Sharp trade, said he’s ready for the NHL and Honka, the 14th overall pick in 2014, might be the most promising of the lot.

Guess that’s why Gaglardi’s so excited about what’s on the horizon.

Dallas d-man Johns, acquired in Sharp trade, says he’s ready for the NHL

New York Rangers v Chicago Blackhawks

Patrick Sharp isn’t the only former Blackhawk looking to make his mark in Dallas.

Defensive prospect Stephen Johns, acquired by the Stars two weeks ago in the Sharp deal, is looking to make his big-league debut next season and challenge for a spot on the blueline.

“I am just going to be like every other guy here, battling for a spot, competing and doing whatever I can,” Johns said, per NHL.com. “Personally, I think I am ready, but it’s not up to me.

“I am going to do the best that I can, play the best hockey I can and try to impress them.”

Johns, 23, was held in high regard by the ‘Hawks, who took him 60th overall at the 2010 NHL Entry Draft. He’s big (6-foot-3, 229 pounds), showed good offensive upside in Rockford this year — 21 points in 51 games, missing time to a knee injury — and garnered some consideration as a darkhorse candidate to step in on Chicago’s defense in the playoffs, following Michal Rozsival‘s season-ending ankle fracture in Round 2.

A broken forearm kept Johns from making that leap, but a new opportunity came calling two weeks ago when he and Sharp were flipped to Dallas for Trevor Daley and forward Ryan Garbutt.

Dallas’ blueline is hardly set in stone; while the likes of John Klingberg, Alex Goligoski, Jason Demers and Johnny Oduya are all experienced NHLers, Johns should (theoretically) compete with fellow youngsters Patrik Nemeth, Jamie Oleksiak, Jyrki Jokipakka and ’14 first-rounder Julius Honka for minutes.

It also remains to be seen where Jordie Benn, who struggled mightily last season, fits into the grand scheme of things.

Dallas has really cornered the market on hip surgeries

Jamie Benn

The Dallas Stars are quickly becoming experts in the field of hip surgery.

Captain and Art Ross winner Jamie Benn had his first last week, and is now resting up before undergoing another. Alternate captain Trevor Daley had his on Thursday, Ales Hemsky had his on Monday — and these came after a regular season in which Valeri Nichushkin went under the knife in November (granted, he had groin problems in addition to hip issues.)

Oh yeah, last April defenseman John Klingberg had double hip surgery.

But it’s not like the Stars are freaking out or anything.

“There is concern whenever you have surgery, but we feel good about the timing and about the time that each will have to rehabilitate properly,” GM Jim Nill said, per the Dallas Morning News. “If you have to deal with these during the season, then you miss almost all of the season.

“If you take care of it now, then you’re ready to go.”

The hope, of course, is that everybody will be rehabbed, healthy and ready to go for the start of next year, so Dallas can avoid the same slow start that derailed its playoff hopes in 2014-15. Injuries certainly played their role: Nichushkin missed almost the entire season with his ailment, Klingberg was slow getting out of the gate following his procedure and Patrik Nemeth was gone for months following a serious skate laceration.

As for Benn, Daley and Hemsky, Nill admitted all three were slowed this year by their respective ailments. Benn and Daley didn’t seem to show it — the former had a career-high 87 points, the latter a career-high 16 goals — but Hemsky was a major disappointment and looked out of sorts all season long.

“I think you look at all three, and all three were limited by the injuries,” Nill said. “I expect them to come back and be even better next season when they’re completely healthy.”

PHT Morning Skate: Nemeth gets puck lodged in visor

Patrik Nemeth

PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.

Dallas Stars defenseman Patrik Nemeth ended up with the puck lodged between his face and visor during Monday’s contest against Calgary. Fortunately he wasn’t hurt as a result of the fluky play:

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The argument against Alex Ovechkin as a Hart Trophy candidate. (News & Observer)

Devils GM and interim coach Lou Lamoriello felt Stefan Matteau “had an outstanding game” on Sunday. (The Bergen Record)

Chicago goaltender Scott Darling allowed a pretty ugly goal during last night’s contest against Los Angeles, but Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville was pleased with how he responded. (CSN Chicago)

Speaking of which, here are the highlights from Chicago’s 4-1 win over Los Angeles:

Connor McDavid is already getting some unusual fan requests. (Sarnia Observer)

The Columbus Blue Jackets won’t make the playoffs, but they have still managed to break some franchise records. (Columbus Dispatch)