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Julius Honka Reassigned To AHL

The Stars found themselves with 9 healthy defensemen. Something had to give.

Dallas Stars v Colorado Avalanche Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

Julius Honka is back to full health — and back to Cedar Park.

The Dallas Stars announced that they had assigned the young blueliner back to the Texas Stars earlier this afternoon. With Honka, the Stars were carrying nine healthy defenseman.

The demotion should not be taken as an indictment on Honka’s play at the NHL level. In fact, he acquitted himself well and helped stabilize the backend through injuries. Unfortunately, he is one of the only defenseman the Stars have that would not have to pass through waivers to go down to the AHL.

I think in any other season, the Stars might try to slip one of Patrik Nemeth or Jamie Oleksiak through waivers in favor of keeping Honka up. However, general manager Jim Nill is cognizant of the expansion draft coming up this summer. He will have to expose some blueliners for the draft to the Vegas Golden Knights, and some of those will have to meet certain minimum playing requirements at the NHL level.

It’s likely a reason for him to hang onto eight blueliners this season instead of making a move to carry fewer defenseman on the active roster this season. That doesn’t make head coach Lindy Ruff’s job any easier, though. At least this move gives him one less defensemen he has to find playing time for.

One thing is for sure, though: Honka is nearly ready for full-time NHL duty. I’d pencil him into the top six for Dallas next season based on what we saw from him in his stint with the Stars this year.