The Dallas Stars made a move today to reduce the number of defensemen on their roster. Including an injured Johnny Oduya, the Stars had nine blueliners on the roster in Dallas. With that many players, playing time has been hard to come by.
Stephen Johns was assigned to the Texas Stars today to alleviate some of the logjam.
The last several games Johns has found himself a healthy scratch. Head coach Lindy Ruff remarked that his decision making of with the puck of late was not quite up to snuff.
The move is both surprising and not.
On one hand, Johns is a part of the future of the blueline in Dallas. He brings size and grit to a defense that leans towards slight with the likes of John Klingberg and Julius Honka. You would like to see Johns be able to play through his struggles, much like Klingberg is trying to do this season, so that the blueline of the future develops together.
On the other hand, Johns is one of the only defenseman in Dallas that is easily sent down. The likes of Jamie Oleksiak and Patrik Nemeth require waivers to be returned to the Texas Stars. Honka has earned an extended look in Dallas, as his puck movement has helped the team transition better (Nashville notwithstanding). Instead of having Johns sit on the bench, he’ll get big minutes to find his game again in Texas. He’ll get a couple of games there, and likely be called back up to Dallas once Honka or Lindell is returned to Texas and Oduya returns to health.
With the move, and Oduya on IR, the Stars now have seven defensemen. Pairings for the home game tonight are expected to be:
Lindell - Klingberg
Hamhuis - Honka
Oleksiak - Benn
Nemeth is expected to be a healthy scratch when the Stars take on the Vancouver Canucks.