The Dallas Stars trimmed their training camp roster to 26 players on Tuesday and, in the process, sent two recent first-round picks packing.
Radek Faksa, the 13th overall selection in 2012, and defenseman Julius Honka, the 14th pick this year, have been assigned to AHL Texas, the club announced. For Faksa, this will be his first full crack at professional hockey — after spending the last three years with OHL Kitchener and Sudbury, the Czech center will (presumably) spend an entire season at the American league level, though he does have eight previous games with Texas on his resume.
As for Honka, he’s being sent down to Texas under curious circumstances. Since he was drafted out of WHL Swift Current, it was thought he’d be ineligible for AHL play… but it’s possible there’s an issue with the IIHF preventing his return to the CHL (it’s worth noting that, prior to coming to North America, Honka was part of Finnish club JYP Jyvaskyla).
Update: Here’s the skinny on the Honka situation, per the Dallas Morning-News…
Honka played last season with Swift Current of the WHL, and would typically have to return there under the agreement between the NHL and Major Junior hockey. However, he was on loan from Finland to the WHL, so he’s not allowed to go back to junior this year. That meant the choices for the Stars were to send him back to Finland or send him to the AHL. The Stars have decided to place the 18-year-old with the Texas Stars and leave him there for the season.
“It was a decision that we talked about, and he wanted to play in the AHL, so we feel good about this,” Stars general manager Jim Nill said. “In seeing him in Traverse City and in training camp, he’s a very mature player who is more than ready for this. If we didn’t think he could handle it, we would have made a different decision, but he proved himself.”