Within a catch-all sports article in the Toronto Sun, Steve Simmons slipped in a line implying that Dallas Stars defenseman Jamie Oleksiak was for sale. With a plethora of young blue liners supposedly available across the league, all much more high-profile than Oleksiak, his availability has flown under the radar. However, with the season underway and many teams seeing the holes in their lineups, those who can’t meet the demands for names like Jacob Trouba or Cam Fowler might just end up swinging a deal for the big Dallas defenseman.
The expectations for Oleksiak were high when he was taken 14th overall by the Stars in the 2011 NHL Draft. At 6’7″, and over 250 lbs. at such a young age, Oleksiak had the size and raw power to become a shutdown defenseman in only a short matter of time. After his freshman year at Northeastern University, Oleksiak was drafted by Dallas and decided to move to the junior ranks. His first and only season in the OHL was split between the Saginaw Spirit and Niagara Ice Dogs, and Oleksiak showed his first glimpses of puck-moving ability. Dallas jumped at the chance to sign their up-and-coming star while he was still a teenager, and he rewarded them with the best year of his career with the AHL Texas Stars and even got into 16 games with the big-league team. Every year since, those once-promising numbers have gone down. Oleksiak has been unable to stick in Dallas, and has not had the same production in the AHL either. Last year, injuries kept him from doing much at either level.
Now it looks as if the Stars are trying to sell Oleksiak based on his potential before he’s officially labeled a bust. With little production to use as a selling point, all Dallas has is the size and style of the big blue liner. A big defenseman who has shown an ability to skate and move the puck will always have some value, but how much is yet to be determined. If Dallas is set on giving up on Oleksiak, expect him to be moved this season, no matter the sunk cost.