Welcome to Last Word’s Draft Boom and Bust series. As the 2020 NHL Entry Draft approaches, we decided to examine each team’s best and worst pick since the 2000 NHL Entry Draft. The biggest boom is a player that had the best value relative to where they were selected. Meaning, no one in the first round will be considered a team’s best value pick. However, the biggest bust picks will almost always be in the first round. We will examine each player, why they were picked where they were, and what their NHL career was like. Today, we look at the Dallas Stars draft, and their biggest boom and bust.
Dallas Stars Draft Boom and Bust
Biggest Boom: Jamie Benn
The Dallas Stars drafted Benn in the fifth round, 129th overall, in 2007. At the time, Benn was casually into hockey compared to the other prospects. He was an excellent baseball player. One of his former coaches called Benn the best left-handed hitter from Victoria, B.C. next to former MLB all-star Michael Sauders. Benn was more committed to baseball in the summer than off-ice training, so many prospects his age were in better condition than him.
During his draft year, Benn played for the Victoria Grizzlies of the BCHL, a league one-level lower than major junior and usually less scouted. Benn did show promise scoring 42 goals and 65 points in the 2006-2007 season. He scored more goals than Reilly Nash, who was a first-rounder, but Nash had 20 more points. Many scouts didn’t watch Benn regularly because played out of the way in Victoria. Scouts didn’t often make the ferry ride from Vancouver to watch a BCHL team. The Victoria Royals of the WHL didn’t exist at the time.
Dennis Holland, who was a British Columbia scout for the Stars, and brother of Edmonton Oilers’ general manager Ken Holland, told the Stars about Benn. Here is a quote from him in an NHL.com article in 2012.
“He was a player with outstanding stick skills and an NHL shot back when he was 17. He had real good vision,” said Holland. “What I noticed about him was his improvement potential. He was just a raw, raw kid.”
Once Benn became an NHL prospect, he took hockey more seriously and started to train properly. He then took off. He decided to play for the Kelowna Rockets of the WHL and scored 33 goals and 65 points in 51 games in his first season. The next season was his coming out party. He scored 46 goals in 56 games and 82 points for Kelowna. He scored four goals and six points in six games on Canada’s 2009 world junior gold medal team. In the WHL playoffs, Benn scored 33 points in 19 games and led his team to the WHL championship. Benn then led the Memorial Cup in scoring with nine points in four games. However, the Rockets lost 4-1 in the Memorial Cup Final to the Windsor Spitfires.
After junior, Benn immediately made the jump to the NHL. He scored 41 points in his rookie season. His point total slowly climbed, and he was invited to his first all-star game in 2012.
Before the 2013-2014 season, Benn was named the captain of the Stars and played his first season with centre Tyler Seguin. He scored 79 points and added 64 penalty minutes that season. He also won an Olympic gold medal in 2014 at the Sochi Winter Olympics. The next season, Benn scored 87 points and won the Art Ross Trophy as the league’s top scorer. By doing so, Benn joins Martin St. Louis and Nikita Kucherov as the only players not drafted in the first round to win the trophy in the 2000s.
In the 2015-2016 season, Benn hit career highs in goals (41) and points (89) and finished third in Hart Trophy voting, second in league scoring and third in goals. Benn’s combination of size, power, soft hands, a strong shot and high hockey IQ made him difficult to stop.
Jamie Benn remained elite until the 2018-2019 season. He had a solid 53 points that year but not up to his usual standards. This season, Benn scored 39 points in 69 games.
Here is a short documentary about Benn’s rise.
Other Notable Booms
John Klingberg might have been less well-known than Benn during his draft year. Klingberg was playing two levels below the Swedish Hockey League (known as the Swedish Elite League at the time) playing against teenagers. The Stars’ Swedish scout was high on him, so Dallas used their last pick (131) in the 2010 draft on him. Klingberg has grown into one of the best defencemen in the NHL. He is an excellent skater, fantastic passer and also quite reliable in his own zone.
The Dallas Stars chose Mike Smith with the 161 pick in the 2001 draft. During the 2000-2001 season, Smith became an OHL starter, but he was a year older than most of the draft class, which pushed him down the draft. Smith would prove himself as a strong young goaltender before Dallas traded him in a package to the Tampa Bay Lightning for Brad Richards. Over his career, he has played in 610 NHL games for Dallas, Tampa, the Arizona Coyotes, Calgary Flames and Edmonton Oilers. He is currently eighth among active goalies in games played.
Biggest Bust: Scott Glennie
The Dallas Stars drafted Scott Glennie eighth overall in the 2009 NHL draft. It was a good pick at the time. The Central Scouting Service ranked him seventh among North American skaters. The Brandon Wheat King forward was seen as a player who could play either the wing or centre. He had blazing speed and a great shot. In his draft year, Glennie scored 28 goals and 42 assists for 70 points in 55 regular-season games. In the playoffs, he scored 18 points in 12 games.
Glennie played two more years of junior hockey in the Western Hockey League, scoring 67 goals and 180 points in 136 games. By the end of his junior career, The Hockey News ranked him as the Stars’s fourth-best prospect behind Alex Chiasson, Jamie Oleksiak and Jack Campbell.
Here is a draft video about Glennie.
Glennie struggled at the start of his first professional season with the Texas Stars of the AHL. He scored nine points in his first 30 games. However, Glennie found his groove and finished the season scoring 28 points in 40 games, earning himself a one-game call up at the end of the season. The next season, he took a step back. He couldn’t stay healthy and scored 14 points in 37 games with Texas.
Glennie got off to a good start with the Texas 2013-2014 season, scoring 12 points in 17 games. He suffered a shoulder injury, and he wasn’t the same when he came back, scoring 16 points in 33 games. Glennie also scored 10 points in 20 games in the payoffs to help Texas win a Calder Cup. The next season he was healthy and scored 39 points in 69 games.
Glennie sat out the entire 2015-2016 season recovering from shoulder surgery, and the Stars decided not to re-sign him. Glennie joined his hometown, Manitoba Moose, in the AHL for the 2016-2017 season and scored 20 points in 45 games. He stopped playing after that season because he had to deal with foot surgeries. He retired in October 2019 and joined 2112 Hockey Group as a player agent.
The Dallas Stars drafted Martin Vanger 26th overall in the 2002 draft. The defenceman had a good season with the Hull (now Gatineau) Olympics of the QMJHL scoring 34 points in 64 games. However, Vanger never impressed in junior after that. He scored 44 points in 139 QMJHL games, and the Stars never signed him. After junior hockey, he played professional hockey in his home country of the Czech Republic. He is still playing, but currently bouncing between the second and third-tier leagues.
Julius Honka was drafted 14th overall in the 2014 NHL draft. He was an offensive defenceman who scored 56 points in his only season in the Western Hockey League with the Swift Current Broncos. Honka lived up to expectations in the AHL, scoring 108 points in 201 games. However, he was only able to put up 13 points in 87 NHL games stretched over three years. He was a healthy scratch for the final 35 games of the 2018-2019 season. After the season Honka requested a trade from the Stars and did not re-sign with them as a restricted free agent. Dallas hasn’t traded Honka and he played the entire 2019-2020 season in Finland, scoring 16 points in 46 games.
Here is a video of Honka’s draft.
Embed from Getty Images