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I had an initial scouting report on Dillon Heatherington and Mark McNeill in the last issue of Dallas Stars Prospect insider, which was based off video and feedback from scouts.
However, whenever possible I like to update those reports with my own live observations. So this weekend I went down to Cedar Park to watch the Texas Stars play back-to-back games against the Iowa Wild and focus on the Stars two newest prospects.
Heatherington is a stay-at-home defenseman that doesn’t make many mistakes. He has good size at 6-foot-4, 215 pounds and is positionally sound, which made him one of the Blue Jackets top-10 prospects before the trade to Dallas.
Heatherington’s work with the puck is simple, and it needs to be. He doesn’t have much flair in his game and he’s not going to put up many points, but he gets the puck out of the zone and makes the simple play quickly and effectively.
He won’t be asked to do it much in the Stars system, but Heatherington is a very good shot blocker. He does a good job of getting his stick in shot lanes, and efficiently uses his body to help protect the net.
The 21-year-old is going to be a future NHL player at some point, I feel rather confident of that. But how big of an NHL role is yet to be determined. He won’t be a top-pairing guy in Dallas system, he doesn’t move the puck well enough, but he can be a reliable shutdown defensemen on the second or third pairing.
At his ceiling he reminds me of Johnny Oduya — defensive-first, reliable, long-career — and he seems to make big plays defensively late in games.
On a side note, the Monday insider feature will be on Heatherington. Check back for that tomorrow.
The former Chicago Blackhawks first-round pick is a good AHL player, and he’ll help the Texas Stars, but he’s not going to have much of an NHL future.
McNeill also has good size and Texas is already using him in front of the net on the power play, but he doesn’t show off any of that extra “it factor” that you’d like to see with a first-round pick. He’s a good character player for the locker room.
Reminds me of Scott Glennie. First-round pick, good AHL forward, won’t ever make a full-time jump to the NHL.
It didn’t help that McNeill was rather invisible this weekend against the Wild in back-to-back games.