Stars D-man Johns could be close to return from long absence

FRISCO, Texas — Dallas Stars defenseman Stephen Johns could be nearing a return after missing a season and a half because of issues with headaches.

The Stars loaned Johns to the Texas Stars of the American Hockey League on Wednesday for a conditioning assignment. The club didn’t indicate how long he would be in the minors.

Johns missed all of last season with what were called post-traumatic headaches. The 27-year-old played his first three NHL seasons with the Stars after coming over from Chicago in a trade.

A second-round pick by the Blackhawks in 2010, Johns debuted with the Stars five years later in the first season after the trade. Johns played a career-high 75 games in the most recent season he was active, 2017-18.

Johns played 14 regular-season games as a rookie in 2015-16, then was part of all 13 playoff games. Dallas lost in Game 7 to St. Louis in the second round. He has 28 points (13 goals, 15 assists) in 150 career regular-season games.

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