The Dallas Stars have placed defenseman Joel Hanley on waivers today. Hanley has appeared in 15 games with the Stars this season, registering a zero in both the points and +/- column with an average time on ice of 13:46.
Hanley was called up from the Texas Stars a little more than a month ago when John Klingberg was placed on Injured Reserve. Since then, he has appeared regularly for Dallas and had done a great job suppressing shots and scoring opportunities, as our own Cody Marcom wrote about earlier today.
So why would the Stars waive Hanley? It can be all summed up in a single tweet:
John Klingberg on the ice for practice this morning.— Mark Stepneski (@StarsInsideEdge) December 17, 2018
That’s right; after missing about half of the Stars’ season thus far, it looks like Klingberg is finally close to making a return to the lineup. With two games at home this week, and Julius Honka finally getting back into game action, the Stars don’t need to carry extra bodies when Cedar Park is just down the road should a call-up be warranted again.
Once Klingberg is ready to be activated off of IR to join the roster as an option, other depth defensemen, such as Taylor Fedun will likely see their time in Dallas end as well. Stars beat writers reported after practice today that Klingberg is targeting Thursday when the Stars take on the Chicago Blackhawks for return. If he isn’t ready by then, he’s almost assured to be in the lineup when the Stars travel to take on the Minnesota Wild Saturday night.
The expectation is that Hanley will clear waivers and be reassigned to Texas, but it’s quite possible that another team in search of defensive depth could snatch him up:
One attractive thing about LD Joel Hanley is that he's on a one-year two-way contract, with a league-minimum NHL salary.— Jonathan Willis (@JonathanWillis) December 17, 2018
For a team in need of a stopgap, the price doesn't get lower than that. https://t.co/rjGDZ7LAH2
In addition to the Klingberg news, both Stephen Johns and Connor Carrick were seen skating on the ice before practice. How close either player is to returning is anyone’s guess, but a healthier blue line seems to finally be on the horizon.
For those that wanted to see Denis Gurianov get a shot at riding with Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin, today’s practice lines will lift your heart:
Jamie Benn - Tyler Seguin - Denis Gurianov
Mattias Janmark - Jason Spezza - Alexander Radulov
Radek Faksa - Martin Hanzal - Tyler Pitlick
Devin Shore - Jason Dickinson - Blake Comeau
Valeri Nichushkin and Brett Ritchie were the extra forwards and can be penciled in as your scratches for tomorrow’s contest.
On defense, pairings today were as follows:
Esa Lindell - Julius Honka
Roman Polak - Miro Heiskanen
Gavin Bayreuther - Taylor Fedun
Joel Hanley - John Klingberg