As evidenced by the success of the Detroit Red Wings for the last 20 years or so, Dallas Stars general manager Jim Nill understands that players need time to develop. One of the reasons that the Red Wings have been so successful is that they typically don’t rush players into the lineup. They are very good about getting them to craft their game in the minors and bring them up when they are ready. On the other end of that spectrum are teams like the Edmonton Oilers, who have had a string of early first round picks (including three first overall), yet have had a hard time finding success because their players have not had the time to learn the nuances of being a professional hockey player.
Due to the injury suffered by Stephane Robidas last week, the Stars have created an interesting problem for themselves by recalling Jamie Oleksiak from Cedar Park.
Dallas needs to handle Oleksiak delicately. They cannot put too much on his plate too soon. Remember that Oleksiak is only 20 years old and has only 17 games of NHL experience under his belt. He was drafted in 2011 and only has one season as a professional so far. While I’m not suggesting that Dallas needs to go to Mike Ribeiro levels of sheltering, they do need to be careful who they play him against and in what types of situations.
It wasn’t that long ago that Matt Niskanen was labeled as the next stud defenseman for Dallas, only for him to be put into situations he wasn’t ready for. His play was inconsistent, his confidence got shot, and he eventually needed a change of scenery to rediscover his game. I’m not suggesting that they are the same player, but while Dallas needs Oleksiak to help in the short term, he is clearly in the long term plans as a cornerstone piece of the blue line. The Stars would be wise to make sure that they don’t do anything to set back his progress.
As always, I welcome your comments. If you think I’m wrong, I’m willing to listen. Just back it up with some facts and solid evidence. Thanks for reading and good luck this season.
Read more from Dustin here.