Dallas prepared to let Honka play at World Juniors

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The reigning World Junior champs could be getting a big addition in their quest to repeat.

Julius Honka, the defenseman taken 14th overall by Dallas at the 2014 NHL Entry Draft, will be released to the Finnish junior team if he’s not called up to the NHL by Dec. 23, the club announced on Tuesday.

Honka, 19, was part of the Finnish club that captured gold at last year’s tournament. He’s spent all of this year playing for Dallas’ AHL affiliate in Texas and has fared pretty well, scoring two goals and eight points in 22 games.

It’ll be interesting to see if the Stars do grant his release. The team’s defense has been sub-par all season long and GM Jim Nill’s said he wants to go with a youth movement on the back-end; that said, Honka’s still in his first pro season in North America and is relatively small (5-foot-11, 175 pounds) — pushing him up to the NHL level this early could be asking a lot.