The disclaimer that I will throw in here before the pick is that I believe that Jamison Oleksiak is the prime target for GM Joe. He appears to have the makings of a perfect pick for GM Joe Nieuwendyk in that he is BIG, talented and in the USHL. This appears to be a pretty highly regarded aspect of GM Joe's picks. Thanks to the fine people at Defending Big D for that information.
This draft will go a long way into Joe's insight as to what he is looking to do with the team due to his history. In the past 2 drafts he has only had 5 picks. Therefore it will be interesting to see if he sticks with all of his picks or if he wheels and deals.
So with the 14th pick in the 2011 draft the Dallas Stars are happy to select...
Mark McNeill. He is a large bodied center with a righty shot. Although the Stars are loaded with right handed shots the size of McNeill is too much to pass up. He has a large frame and has a scoring touch. Weighing in at 210 pounds on a 6' 2" frame the future power forward in poised to turn some heads in the professional level. Some of the criticism in his direction is that he doesn't use his size enough in the physical part of the game. However he is used on the PP and the PK due to his tenacity and skill. He isn't afraid to drop the gloves and he can create space for his teammates as well as himself. Hopefully in the future he can learn to use that frame to go the way of Mike Richards rather than Todd Bertuzzi.
With some large bodied prospects in their system the Stars seem to be assembling a much larger team that is a balanced amount of grit and talent. It is appears that GM Joe is looking for the right fit rather than the best available player and Mark seems to fit that bill in the 14th overall selection. Seeing how he was ranked as a possible 2nd rounder before the season started McNeill has managed to attract a lot of attention to his game. Last year McNeill put up 32g and 49a in 70 games for the Prince Albert Raiders in the WHL as their starting center. In doing such he also managed to cut his +/- in half from the prior season. All signs point to the thought that he will be a top 6 forward if not a top 3 in the NHL.
So to further the idea that the Stars will take McNeill if Oleksiak is off the board (considering that they do not trade up to go after him if need be) our good friend at the New York Post has solidified the thought process that the Stars need to find a replacement for Brad Richards or the world is going to come to an end regardless of the predictions.
Let me know if you feel that this was the right pick for the Stars or who they should have picked.
LHH Mock Draft Picks So Far
1. Edmonton - Anarcurt chose Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, C.
2. Colorado - mnroy33 chose Adam Larsson, D.
3. Florida - chrismc614 selected Gabriel Landeskog, W.
4. New Jersey - nyidangle17 chose Sean Couturier, C.
5. Long Island - Fabtraption took Dougie Hamilton, D.
6. Ottawa - OzzyFan grabs Jonathan Huberdeau, LW/C.
7. Atlantapeg - WebBard took Ryan Murphy, D.
8. Columbus - Jones79 grabbed Ryan Strome, C.
9. Bahston (from Toronto) - Empire39 went for Duncan Siemens, D.
10. Minnesota - risenrule selected Mika Zibanejad, C.
11. Colorado (from St. Louis) - mnroy33 chose Sven Bartschi, RW.
12. Carolina - Dominik selected Jamie Oleksiak, D.
13. Calgary - nyislanders93 selected Joel Armia RW.
14. Dallas - metalcoconut picks Mark McNeill C.
Up next is Metzfan22 with the Short Island Smurfs 15th overall selection.