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Dallas Stars Daily Links: Has Wyatt Johnston Settled Down In Dallas?

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Dallas Stars v Montreal Canadiens Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images

The Dallas Stars gave Wyatt Johnston a big vote of confidence after their 2022 training camp – and so far, the teenager from Toronto has delivered.

But there’s a lot to consider before the team burns a year of his entry-level contract to keep him in the NHL full time, and with Johnston’s nine-game limit approaching, those decisions are looming larger.

The Athletic’s Saad Yousuf took a look at Johnston’s situation in his latest article – starting with what may be the ideal roommate situation for a 19-year-old who hasn’t spent much time away from home:

Since he arrived in Dallas for training camp, Johnston was living out of a hotel room in Frisco. Nill considered a handful of options but Joe Pavelski made the decision easy. The 17-year NHL veteran volunteered a guest room in his house to serve as Johnston’s new home....

“Oh, Jumbo [Joe Thornton] would do it all the time,” Pavelski said. “I think for us, to have an opportunity like this, you’ve seen it, you’ve lived it, you’ve been a part of it. … This is a decision where you feel very comfortable bringing him into our lives like that.”

Now comes the tension over how long Johnston will need living arrangements in Dallas. The Stars’ front office has some weighing to do, and it’s not as cut-and-dried as you might hope:

The decision on Johnston is a multi-layered one. From a hockey perspective, things are relatively straightforward. Through five games, Johnston has proven he can hang with NHL competition. He hasn’t put his stamp on the league but, physically and mentally, he hasn’t appeared glaringly overmatched. ... [But the] Stars have to weigh the business aspect as well. Johnston has played well but has he been so much better than what the Stars could get out of Jacob Peterson, who has been a healthy scratch for every game so far this season? Could Riley Damiani, [Mavrik] Bourque or Matej Blumel be forward options to call up from the AHL and provide similar contributions on their cheap deals?

If the Stars keep Johnston in the NHL this season, he will be a restricted free agent in 2025. The Stars already have Jake Oettinger due for a big extension that summer. If things get pushed back a year and Johnston begins his full-time NHL career next season, he’ll be up in 2026 with Jason Robertson and Mason Marchment. While the salary cap is expected to rise, it’s hard to project Johnston’s market.

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

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