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Stars go defensive on second day

LOS ANGELES -- After taking goalie Jack Campbell in the first round despite a couple of highly-rated defenseman still available, the Stars selected three defenseman with their four second-day picks at the NHL draft Saturday.

"It was always the plan that everything being equal after the first round, we'd look toward defense," said Tim Bernhardt, Stars' director of amateur scouting.

The Stars drafted defenseman Patrik Nemeth in the second round (No. 41 overall) and blue liners Alex Theriau and John Klingberg in the fourth and fifth rounds, respectively. They added left wing Alex Guptill in the third round.

Dallas came into the day with only three picks but added one by trading down in the third round. They acquired a fourth-round pick from Colorado in doing so and still got the player they wanted in the third round in Guptill.

Nemeth, the club's second round selection Saturday, was someone the club had targeted once some other defenseman went off the board.

"He's a big defenseman who plays an aggressive, in-your-face game," Bernhardt said. "There's untapped offensive potential there and he has a big shot. He’ll be a big player when it’s all said and done."

Nemeth, at 6-3, 201-pounds, has played the last two seasons for AIK Jr. in the Swedish Jr. League. He appeared in 38 games this past season, scoring one goal and 19 assists for 20 points. He is scheduled to play for the AIK team in the Swedish Elite League next season.

The Stars were pleased to get Guptill in the third round and add a pick at the same time.

"He’s a very skilled guy," Bernhardt said. "He's got all the tools. He's 6-2, 175 pounds, so there's still room to fill out. He’s got long fluid stride and kept getting better from the start of the year. He's going to Michigan, so he's got a good development program ahead of him."

Bernhardt said Guptill played baseball, like Jamie Benn did, and could have played on Canada's national team, but concentrated on hockey. Guptill had a broken wrist at the beginning of the season, but ended up playing in 29 games and scoring 37 points (19 goals) for Orangeville in the CCHL.

With the additional pick, the Stars grabbed defenseman Alex Theriau (No. 109 overall). He's 6-2, 189 pounds and played in 70 games for the Everett Silvertips of the Western Hockey League. He had four goals and 20 assists with 68 penalty minutes.

“He’s a puck-moving defenseman," Stars amateur scout Shane Churla said. "He is an excellent first-pass defenseman. He has great mobility, which is probably his best asset. He has the potential to be a very good two-way defenseman.”

With the club's final pick, they selected defenseman John Klingberg from Sweden. He doesn't have the size of some of the Stars' other picks at 6-0, 158 pounds. He played in 27 games with Frolunda Jr., collecting five assists and 32 penalty minutes.

"He's a two-way defenseman and he has some bite to his game," said Rickard Oquist, Stars European scout. "He's a good skater, mobile and moves the puck with ease. Big guy that needs some time to fill out."