Rumours were floating around the Twitterverse yesterday that the Dallas Stars had signed their first round pick, Julius Honka, to a three year entry level contract. Today it's been confirmed.
The Stars haven't announced the terms of the contract, per club policy, but Capgeek has the contract as being worth $925,000 per year. Renaud Lavoie appeared to be the first to tweet the news yesterday.
#stars signed their 1st pick in 2014 Julius Honka. ELS contract. 3 years at $925 000 (2 way) #tvasports— Renaud Lavoie (@renlavoietva) July 13, 2014
With Julius Honka having signed an entry level contract with the Dallas Stars, they now exert far more influence over where Honka will play next season. Though he spent last year with the Swift Current Broncos in the WHL, there was talk after the draft that he could play in Finland next year.
One team in particular was mentioned specifically: JYP in the SM-Liiga. From what I've read online, it seems that they don't have the money to pay experienced veterans and are turning to youngsters to compete next year. Julius Honka could be one of those and he could get some reasonable ice time against adults if he returns to Finland. He had played in their U20 team before he moved to the WHL last season.
A decision on whether he will be assigned back to the Swift Current Broncos or whether he will be assigned to play in Finland is likely going to come in the next few weeks.
Here's the official press release from the Dallas Stars:
FRISCO, Texas - Dallas Stars General Manager Jim Nill announced today that the club has signed defenseman Julius Honka to a three-year entry-level contract. Per club policy, terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Honka, 18, played his first season of North American hockey in 2013-14. In 62 regular-season games for Swift Current of the Western Hockey League, he posted 56 points (16-40=56), which paced all team defensemen. Honka was also tied for third on the team with two goals (2-0=2) in six postseason contests as well.
A native of Jyvaskyla, Finland, he won a gold medal for his country at the 2014 World Jr. Championship, recording one assist (0-1=1) in seven games. Honka also won a bronze medal for Finland at the 2013 Under-18 World Junior Championship, earning four points (1-3=4) in seven games.
"We are happy to have signed Julius quickly so that the young defenseman can continue the process of developing his game," said Nill. "He's highly skilled, moves the puck extremely well and is very competent at running a power play. We are really excited about his potential and think he has the tools to grow into an NHL defenseman in the near future."
The 5-foot-11, 180-pound defenseman was originally selected by Dallas with the 14th overall pick in the 2014 NHL Draft.