Julius Honka hasn’t fit in with Dallas as well as he or the team had hoped. It now appears that the Stars are ready to move on from him. Matthew DeFranks of the Dallas Morning News reports that Dallas is trying to trade the defenseman.
While it appeared that the 2014 first-rounder would get a chance to establish himself as a full-time NHL player with Stephen Johns’ concussion ultimately costing him the entire season, the exact opposite happened. He was in and out of the lineup early on and never really got much going. Eventually, head coach Jim Montgomery decided that he’d seen enough and Honka was made a healthy scratch for the final 35 games of the regular season as well as all 13 postseason contests.
Although it’s certainly possible that they could carry eight defensemen next season and keep the 23-year-old on the roster to avoid losing him for nothing, the more ideal scenario for both sides is likely a clean break, much like they did a few years ago when Jamie Oleksiak was in a similar situation. He got more of a chance in Pittsburgh and GM Jim Nill ultimately made a trade to bring him back last season.
While Honka’s trade value is far from at its peak, he’s still likely viewed as someone with some upside and while he’s a restricted free agent, his contract shouldn’t come in much higher than his $874K qualifying offer. The fact that he’s a right-handed shot should also help his value. There won’t be a huge market for his services but getting something for him now over sitting him for long stretches or risk losing him for nothing on waivers is probably the lesser of two evils for Nill and the Stars at this point.