In the NHL, development has become a lifeline.
On Sunday, the Dallas Stars selected forward Jason Dickinson as their second pick in the first round of the NHL Draft, 29th overall.
Now that Dickinson has been drafted, the second part of the process begins — development.
Under the NHL’s new Collective Bargaining Agreement, negotiated during the lockout last season, teams are forced to win from within.
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Dickinson gets a chance to experience Texas as he makes his first venture into both state and city for the Stars’ development camp to be held today through Wednesday at the Dr Pepper StarCenter in Frisco.
“All I think about is heat and country music,” Dickinson said.
The 6-foot-1, 179-pound forward adds depth to one of the organization’s weaknesses, the center position, but he can play all three forward positions. He had 47 points, including 18 goals, with Guelph of the Ontario Hockey League last season.
During the 2011-12 season, Dickinson picked up 35 points and was an all-second team selection in the OHL.
“He’s intriguing,” Stars general manager Jim Nill said. “He has a Ryan Kesler game to him. We like his size and his puck skills, and he can play a physical game. He’s someone we had ranked pretty high.”
However, once a player is scratched off a team’s draft board, ranking means little when it comes to seeing ice time in the NHL. For the Stars’ new management, almost every player must be a three- to five-year project, Nill said.
“That’s something I’m very strict on,” Nill said. “We have to be patient. You can’t rush kids. You just can’t. Patience is a word that’s lost in our game, and it’s something we have to be strict with ourselves on. A surprise is great but the biggest thing is, don’t break the chain.”
During the week-long development camp, Dickinson will sport the new Dallas Stars logo on his sweater while learning the Stars’ system. He also will begin a conditioning program and learn the team’s expectations. After Wednesday, Stars fans most likely won’t see that logo on his chest again until next season’s development camp.
“[The Stars] are young and have young talent, and it gives me a great opportunity to break into the lineup early,” Dickinson said.