Looks like the Dallas Stars’ blueline is pretty much set.
On Monday, the club reassigned five blueliners to AHL Texas: Mattias Backman, Ludwig Bystrom, Esa Lindell, Stephen Johns and Julius Honka.
The latter two are the most notable.
The 23-year-old was held in high regard by the ‘Hawks, who took him 60th overall in 2010 — Johns is big (6-foot-3, 229 pounds), showed good offensive upside with the IceHogs (21 points in 51 games) and garnered some consideration as a darkhorse candidate to step in on Chicago’s defense in the playoffs, following Michal Rozsival‘s season-ending ankle fracture in Round 2.
Honka, the 14th overall pick in ’14, had a nice rookie campaign in AHL Texas — 31 points in 68 games as a 19-year-old — and showed enough maturity to challenge for a spot this season.
But in the case of both Honka and Johns, contractual statuses played a role.
Both were able to be sent down to the AHL without waivers, unlike the eight d-men Dallas still has up with the big club: Jordie Benn, Jason Demers, Alex Goligoski, Jyrki Jokipakka, John Klingberg, Patrik Nemeth, Johnny Oduya and Jamie Oleksiak.