Drafted 13th overall in 2018, Dellandrea’s development has been a slow burn, but he burst onto the scene last season as a full-time player in the strictest sense of the word. One of eight Stars to play in all 82 regular-season games, Dellandrea tallied nine goals and 28 points. Interestingly enough, Dellandrea was not eligible for Calder voting, nor was he considered a rookie – he suited up in 26 games for Dallas two seasons ago in 2020-21, putting him just above the cut-off mark.
Nevertheless, Dellandrea demonstrated high-end two-way upside in a bottom-six role, posting high-end possession numbers and even excelling when used on the penalty kill. Still just 22 years old, there is still plenty of time for his offensive totals to improve. He showed strong scoring flashes in the minors in 2021-22, posting 23 goals and 50 points in 68 games with the AHL’s Texas Stars.
Despite those positive strides, Dellandrea will likely get boxed out of a top-nine role, at least to start next season. The team’s re-signing of Evgenii Dadonov and acquisition of Matt Duchene via free agency gives them one of the best top-nine forward units in the entire league, but it does diminish Dellandrea’s potential for increased ice time. If injuries strike, however, he carries the most upward mobility of any depth forward on the Stars and will get a chance higher up in the lineup.