The Dallas Stars just got a whole lot bigger, selecting hulking defenseman Jamie Oleksiak with the 14th pick. Not a lot of 6’7, 244 pound defenseman kicking around and the Stars decided they would be the ones to reap the benefits.
Oleksiak, who has dual citizenship, was born in Toronto and lived in Canada until age 14. He then moved to Michigan where he played for the Little Cesar’s AAA Midget program. The Stars have had great success with players who have played for Little Cesar’s as both Derian Hatcher and Mike Modano are both alumni. He played this past season for the Northeastern Huskies of the NCAA, putting up 13 points in 38 games. He was among the last few cuts for the 2011 U.S. World Junior squad.
He models his game after another big man on the blue line in Zdeno Chara. He closes gaps well and uses his stick effectively, something that is really helped by his size. He’s also very physical and describes himself as a defensive defenseman. But without a doubt he has puck moving abilities and is overall a very complete defenseman.
The Stars aren’t known for rushing players through the system so it’s likely Oleksiak won’t be in Dallas next season, but rather back at Northeastern to mature a little more and work on his foot work in close, which is said to be his where he needs the most work.
The last time the Stars went for a hulking American defenseman in the first round, it worked out pretty good. They took Derian Hatcher with the 8th overall pick back in 1990 and Hatcher would become captain towards the end of the 1995 season. The Stars would forge their identity after Hatcher as a physical, defense first hockey club. Though Hatcher wasn’t exactly Paul Coffey when it came to offense, his heads up puck moving abilities were excellent and very underrated.
Not to put those expectations on Oleksiak, but if he can bring the same type of strength to the back end one day that Hatcher brought, plus throw in a little more offensive ability, then you can consider this a home run by Joe Nieuwendyk.
About the Author
Written by Travis Currie
Im your typical sports fan. Just a little more crazy about it. I live and die for my teams and I drive my girlfriend nuts. I consider myself the world's biggest Stars fan. Ive been a fan since I was a young kid going back to the mid 80's. Favourite Stars player of all-time is of course Mike Modano. Favourite non-Stars player of all-time is Peter Stastny. I love talking sports so please leave a reply to anything you agree or disagree with. If youd like to contact me my email is firstname.lastname@example.org