The Dallas Stars’ GM, Jim Nill, has spoken about an interest of drafting a defenseman or center in the upcoming NHL draft.
Rasmus Ristolainen is a top five ranked European skater entering the NHL Entry Draft, and the number one ranked European defenseman.
Standing at 6-foot-3, Ristolainen is a Finnish defenseman that the Stars should be very interested in taking for their first round pick. Ristolainen has a strong resumé, consisting of play in the SM-Liiga (including his club’s U18 and U20 teams), and World Junior Championship tournaments.
Ristolainen shows a lot of patience with the puck, largely due to his size. With his solid size he can control the play, especially physically.
I think his best feature for the NHL is his hard, low shot from the point. This is essential in order to generate rebounds, screens, and more offense in general.
Rasmus has the playing style of an offensive minded defenseman. This appears to be the future of the NHL as it focuses more of speed and quickness, as opposed to the previous need for defenseman with pure physicality. This, however, doesn’t mean that Ristolainen is a soft player. His game has had comparisons to Chris Pronger, one of the most intimidating defenseman.
Where does he fit in with the Dallas Stars?
Aside from the recent signing of Sergei Gonchar, the Dallas Stars are still strongly considering drafting a defenseman in the NHL Entry Draft this Sunday. Getting a veteran defenseman such as Gonchar signifies that they are looking even more at drafting a defenseman in the draft.
This past season lots of Brenden Dillon’s success was due to the support that he received from Stephane Robidas (on the ice as well as off the ice). It is possible that the Dallas Stars brought in Gonchar to overlook a young defenseman, particularly Ristolainen. This would be essential to the success of Ristolainen, being as the transition from the SM-Liiga to the NHL could be overwhelming without a strong support system.
Look for more draft watch updates with the days drawing nearer to the 2013 NHL Entry Draft.
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