The Dallas Stars started training camp off with a bang as general manager Jim Nill welcomed assembled media to the first day of on-ice sessions.
After observing that unsigned restricted free agent defenseman Julius Honka was not on the ice with his designated group, Nill confirmed that the player, via his agent, had requested a trade. Honka’s time in Dallas has been contentious, and Nill acknowledged that there was probably blame on both sides for why Honka never worked out in Dallas. “Did we handle him right at times? Yes or no, we don’t know. And it’s on the player, too. You get an opportunity, you’ve got to grab it. Sometimes things don’t work out. There’s different personalities, but that’s sports and that’s life.”
Of course, moving Honka isn’t as easy as picking up the phone and making the first deal that comes along. Nill noted that the league as a whole is kind of at a standstill with all of the current unsigned RFAs around the league. He said he had spoken to some teams that may be interested in Honka’s services, but they can’t really determine what they can offer until they know where they will be at with their own RFAs.
So, it may take some time to find a trade partner for Honka. Of course, Nill could walk back to his office and have the trade done by the time you read this, too.
The other piece of news out of Nill’s media availability is the status of Corey Perry. The newly signed forward broke a small bone in his foot on Wednesday and couldn’t get his skate on. Nill said that Perry will be re-evaluated in two weeks to see what the timeframe for his return to the ice could be. Perry has been skating with the players in town the last two or three weeks in informal skates, familiarizing himself with the system and some of his future linemates. Nill indicated that Perry is in good shape, so the hope is that once he gets the all-clear to be on the ice and participate in practices, it won’t take too long for him to get up to game speed.
It’s unclear at this point whether Perry will be available on opening night. That provides some of the young players in training camp with an opportunity to make a case for potentially filling in that spot in the lineup should it be an option.
The other piece of non-news news from Nill is the fact that there is no update on Stephen Johns. Because of the fact that the player missed all of last season, and there’s no real update on a timetable for return, Nill indicated that the organization will no longer be taking questions on Johns’ status. They will update when there is something to update. Nill wants the focus to be on the players currently on the ice, and his preferred policy will allow for Johns to recover at the pace he needs. Brains are funny and not something to mess around with. We, of course, offer him all the positive vibes and long-term health in whatever form that takes for him and his family.