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Tuesday, September 27, 2022
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Stars Take 19-Year-Old Bichsel With Pick No.18


Dallas Stars select defenseman Lian Bichsel with the No. 18 pick in the 2022 NHL Draft | Image by NHL

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The Dallas Stars welcomed 18-year-old defenseman Lian Bichsel to the club on Thursday with the No.18 pick in the 2022 NHL Draft.

“Hey Stars family, hey Stars fans,” Bichsel said on Twitter. “I am Liam, and I’m proud to play for the Dallas Stars.”

The 6-foot-5, 216-pound defenseman played for Leksand of the Swedish Hockey League (SHL) for most of the 2021-22 season, recording three points (one goal, two assists) in 29 games. He also played 11 games for Leksand’s junior team, scoring seven points (three goals, four assists).

According to the NHL Central Scouting Report, the 18-year-old Swede is a big, physically strong defenseman who has improved significantly since earning a regular spot in the Swedish Hockey League. Bichsel is mature for his age and moves well for a player his size, according to scouting.

“He’s been a guy that’s been high on our list all season long, and actually as an underage player that went to the tournament in Frisco,” said Joe McDonnell, the Stars’ director of amateur scouting, on the team’s website.

“His size stands out; that’s obviously the biggest thing you’ll notice about him. And then his skating ability is very, very good for his size,” McDonnell said. “He’s a well-rounded guy, and his offensive game hasn’t come out yet. He played in a men’s league, so he played conservatively there. When he played in his own age group, that’s when you could see his offense a little bit. So, he has a lot more to give in that regard.”

The drafting of Bichsel comes a day after the Stars released their 2022-23 season schedule set to start on October 13 at Nashville, followed by a repeat matchup at their first home game on the 15th in Dallas.

The 2020-21 season ended with the Stars exiting the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs with a Game 7 loss to Calgary in round one of the Western Conference playoff series, The Dallas Express reported.

Jake Oettinger made 64 saves in that loss, becoming only the second goalie to make 60 or more saves in a Game 7 since 1955, when shots-on-goal were first tracked. (Kelly Hrudey saved 73 shots for the New York Islanders in the Eastern Division Semifinals in 1987.)

Oettinger set a new franchise record, surpassing Ben Bishop, who set the Stars playoff record with 52 saves in a 2-1 overtime loss to the St. Louis Blues in Game 7 of the second round in 2019.

When the Stars season had concluded, head coach Rick Bowness announced his retirement from the team and coaching, according to The Dallas Express.

The Stars hired Pete Deboer – his last stint was with the Golden Knights – as the club’s new head coach.

DeBoer has taken five teams to the Conference Finals and two of those to the Stanley Cup Finals in his 14 years as a head coach in the NHL, The Dallas Express reported.

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