Johns to make NHL debut, against his old team no less

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Stephen Johns will make his NHL debut tonight for the Dallas Stars. And in an interesting twist of fate, he’ll do it against the team that drafted him, the Chicago Blackhawks.

“I’ve waited a long time for this day and I’m overly excited,” the 23-year-old defenseman told reporters this morning at American Airlines Center. “I just can’t wait.”

Johns was a second-round pick of the Blackhawks in 2010. He remained in Chicago’s organization until this past summer when he was dealt to the Stars as part of the Patrick Sharp trade.

“He plays the game hard,” Dallas GM Jim Nill said after acquiring Johns. “We’ve got a lot of skill in our lineup and we don’t have a lot of that presence. You need to have some of that size and different dimension in the back end and I think he brings that.”

After failing to make the Stars out of camp in September, Johns was assigned to the AHL’s Texas Stars, for whom he has four goals and 20 assists in 55 games this season.

Injuries to John Klingberg, Jason Demers, and Jordie Benn prompted the Stars to recall Johns on Wednesday.

Related: Johns believes he’s ready for the NHL