The Dallas Stars have signed Lian Bichsel to an entry-level contract, according to a team release. The 18-year-old defenseman was the team’s first-round pick in the 2022 NHL Draft, coming off the board with the 18th overall selection. The 6-foot-5 and 215 pound defender is best known for his work in his own zone as well as the physicality he brings to the ice. He will not be looking to take any power play time away from some of the Stars offensive defensemen at any point, but could turn into a dependable defensive option.
Bichsel is a native of Switzerland and played this past season with Leksands in the Swedish Hockey League. He scored six points in 42 games and added one point in three playoff games. Even at the Junior level he was not a major offensive presence, as he scored three points in eight games during his stint with the U-20 program in Sweden.
Bichsel did play well at the World Juniors when facing players closer to his own age. Again, he was not lighting up the scoresheet, but he showed a reliable defensive game while playing huge minutes for a Swiss squad that surprisingly won three of its four preliminary round games before bowing out in the quarterfinal.
Unfortunately, Bichsel was slated to suit up for his country once again at the upcoming World Championships, but was injured in an exhibition game leading up to the tournament and is out long-term with a broken ankle.
In better news for the young player, his new contract is a three-year agreement that will start next season with a cap hit of $950k. He now has plenty of options for the 2023-24 campaign, but will likely head to Texas to play in the AHL with the Stars. Although, it is still possible he returns to Sweden for another season, as an entry-level contract does not mean he necessarily needs to head to North America, but it does point in that direction.