When a door closes, a window opens. Dallas Stars defensive prospect and all-around buzz machine Julius Honka has channeled the frustration of the 2016-17 season into a goal and two assists in seven games for Team Finland at the 2017 IIHF World Championships.
Aaron Vickers of NHL.com talked with the 21-year-old about what he’s learned during his first world tournament at the men’s level (Finland will play the USA in a quarterfinal game tomorrow):
“Of course it brings lots of confidence,” said Honka, who had five points (one goal, four assists) in 16 games with the Stars this season. “You want to show what you can do. That’s the biggest strength, what it gives you. I’m just trying to enjoy it.”
“The men’s games are a little bit different,” said Honka, who skated for Finland at the 2014 and 2015 World Juniors and had one goal and two assists in Finland’s seven preliminary round tournament games. “Every game is a tough game. The level is a little bit higher. The level between good teams and bad teams in junior are a little bit different. It's not that different [here].”
It should come as no surprise that another highly skilled Stars defenseman who’s also having a good run of form at the Worlds is rooting for him:
“We’re really similar in how we play,” said [John] Klingberg, representing Sweden in the World Championship. “Obviously he’s a really good skater and an offensive guy. He’s an unbelievably skilled player. I think next year will be a great chance [for him] to grab a roster spot.”
“I’m pretty sure he’s going to play with us next year,” Klingberg said. “I think it’s time for him to move up and play with us.”
There’s much more (including yesterday’s results) under the link. [NHL]
And in case you missed it, this post from Corey Pronman gives an idea of how well Honks has done at this year’s tournament:
Dallas D prospect Julius Honka is 5th in shots on goal at the Worlds, behind Jack Eichel, David Pastrnak, John Gaudreau and Roberts Bukarts.— (((Corey Pronman))) (@coreypronman) May 14, 2017
Speaking of Klinger, and having a pretty good Worlds...
John Klingberg had one assist in Sweden's 4-2 win over Slovakia. Klingberg's five points (1g, 4a) in seven games leads Swedish defensemen.— Mark Stepneski (@StarsInsideEdge) May 16, 2017
And Team France may have missed the quarterfinals, but Antoine Roussel still shone.
The Hockey News continues its expansion draft preview with the Central Division. Find out who Matt Larkin chose as the Stars’ Trade Candidate, Draft Bait, and Wild Card.
As if Craig Ludwig and his Stanley Cup chopper photo weren’t enough...take a look at some of his other rides.
This time next yr we'll be park on AAC Plaza pic.twitter.com/NJehryDNwi— craig ludwig (@taz3311) May 16, 2017
The league has announced the 2016-17 GM of the Year finalists: Peter Chiarelli, Pierre Dorion and David Poile.
The St. Louis Blues will continue to develop their players with the AHL’s Chicago Wolves – but the Wolves’ “primary affiliation” will be with the Vegas Golden Knights. (Sounds complicated.) [St. Louis Post-Dispatch]
Sean Leahy has more about the Vegas end of the deal. [Puck Daddy]
Awful news for the Edmonton Oilers: No. 1 defender Andrej Sekera will miss the beginning of next season with a torn ACL.
Last night, in Smashville:
- Roman Josi was the hero, again, as usual, scoring the GWG with 2:43 left in Game 3 to send the Nashville Predators past the Anaheim Ducks 2-1. [On the Forecheck]
The Western Conference Finals are rapidly turning into Ryan vs. Ryan. In a Monday interview, Perds forward Ryan Johansen didn’t hold much back about the “dirty” play of Ryan Kesler. [ESPN]
Meanwhile, Kesler is basically just going HAHAHAHAHA U MAD BRO? [USA Today]
And the Ducks themselves are actively trolling their hosts. [NHL]
For all we know, these guys may still be beating on each other. (Somebody go check.)
Elsewhere in North Texas hockey, the Allen Americans have their 2017-18 schedule squared away.
And the Texas Stars have re-signed forward Austin Fyten for 2017-18.
Finally: The superfan known as Dart Guy is trying to quit smoking. Toronto Maple Leafs president Brendan Shanahan wants to help. Enjoy.