The Dallas Stars took six defensemen with their eight picks Saturday in Rounds 2-7 of the NHL Draft at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia.
The moves came a day after the Stars selected defenseman Julius Honka with their first-round pick.
“It was just kind of how the draft worked out. It wasn’t something we were concentrating on at all,” director of amateur scouting Joe McDonnell said. “We wanted the best player every pick and it just happened to work out that it happened to be a defenseman.”
While the Stars’ organization is rich with young defensive talent, the picks provide general manager Jim Nill a kind of currency as free agency and the trade market open up through the off-season.
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“In today’s game, you can never have enough defensemen,” Nill said. “Every trade deadline and every trade period, everybody is looking for defense. We added to our depth.”
However, with their second pick, 45th overall in the second round, the Stars selected left wing Brett Pollock, an offensive leader with the Memorial Cup Champion Edmonton Oil Kings of the WHL.
The 18-year-old winger scored 55 points, including 25 goals, during the WHL regular season and led his team in goals with 11 during the Memorial Cup playoffs.
“He was on a very good team, obviously, but he was one of the main guys that was creating opportunities,” McDonnell said. “He has a real good stick. From the top of the circles down, he was making things happen. He did play on a big line, which helped, but he also helped the guys he was playing with.”
Dallas also added 17-year-old goaltender Brent Moran, who was 14-19-2-2 in 40 games with the Niagara of the OHL.
The draft is just the beginning of off-season work for Nill, as free agency beginns Tuesday with players such as Brad Richards and Shawn Thornton hitting the market.
In addition to negotiations between teams for draft-day trades, general managers were allowed conversation time with agents of soon-to-be free agents.
Nill said he has been in discussions with most of the agents to get a feel for the market, but also for the agents to pick Nill’s brain.
“Every agent with a free agent out there has given me a call,” Nill said. “They’re trying to find their market value too, and we’re doing the same thing. We need to talk because they don’t know what I’m looking for, so I’ve talked to almost every agent that’s called that’s in the hockey business.”
But what Nill has in his back pocket is the young core of the organization that grew Friday and Saturday.
“The core of the team moving forward is all under 25, and that’s exciting for us,” Nill said.