The Finns got a big boost in their quest to repeat as World Junior champs on Monday with news that Dallas d-man Julius Honka has officially been loaned out for this year’s tournament.
“I’m now here with the national team,” Honka told Texas Stars beat writer Sean Shapiro. “I talked with Dallas and they think it’s a good experience for me to play for my country and play for the national team.”
The loan was expected, given Dallas said it would release Honka for the Worlds if he wasn’t on the NHL roster by Dec. 23. The 14th overall pick at the 2014 NHL Entry Draft, Honka was in the mix to get some games on Dallas’ blueline — the club is going with a youth movement on defense this season — but that look won’t happen until after the tournament, which goes from Dec. 26 to Jan. 5 in Toronto and Montreal.
Honka, 19, has played pretty well in his first year in the American League, scoring two goals and nine points in 28 games with Texas.
He was a key member of last year’s gold medal-winning team, appearing in all seven games for Finland while registering one point.