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Dallas Stars Daily Links: Should Julius Honka Return To The Stars?

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And on which Stars team could he land? Let the arguing begin. Plus: Can the Senators accommodate 6,000 fans safely? Is the world ready for Hockey Barbie? And more.

Dallas Stars v New York Rangers Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

The news first appeared in GM Jim Nill’s postseason press conference: The Dallas Stars and Julius Honka are making their way back to a possible space where they can discuss maybe, maybe coming to a new agreement. Possibly.

Does Big D have its own Jesse Puljujarvi-style redemption arc in the works? Can the Stars really use another right-handed, puck-moving defender? Can their fandom endure another round of the Honka Wars? These are questions that demand answers, because why not, it’s 2020.

Sean Shapiro examines the case for (and against) Honka in a new article for The Athletic. In it, he seems to confirm that the Stars organization in general didn’t care for the way the 2015 first-rounder carried himself during his first stint in North America:

Stars director of European scouting Kari Takko told me earlier this week that Honka’s return to Finland proved both humbling and frustrating. Honka started the 2019-20 season off rather well, but his season hit a slow decline throughout the year in terms of point production.

Takko said being humbled could be a good thing for Honka, who has always played with confidence but needed to find the fine line between confidence and cockiness. That personality often rubbed coaches the wrong way. And when Honka failed to really become a fill-in option during a John Klingberg injury during the 2018-19 season, then-Stars coach Jim Montgomery effectively discarded him as a lineup option and set the stage for his return to Finland.

In addition, Shapiro jumped into “a Honka wormhole,” watching all 100 shots the defender took with JYP last season, to find out what he looks like now. He found a player who can still dance opponents and move up ice with possession, but who may also still take too many risks for an NHL coach – and who could have more of an impact with the Texas Stars, if the AHL season ever gets rescheduled:

For starters — and this is important to clarify — it’s much easier for Honka to succeed in Finland on the larger ice. There’s more time for him to be shifty with the puck and escape situations in which NHL forecheckers, in a smaller space, would likely connect on a hit in a more physical league.

To his credit, Honka is still fun to watch with the puck on his stick. He still has the flair; there is the big stick action like he’s waving a magic wand around the puck, and there were many smart, creative plays in space. The fact he only scored four goals and dished out 11 assists is both a detriment to his teammates as well as a detriment to Honka’s finishing ability.

There’s more behind the paywall. [The Athletic DFW]


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