Like many of the other teams around the league, the Dallas Stars are currently dealing with an unsigned restricted free agent. Unlike many of those teams however, there seems to be no desire for either side to get something done with Julius Honka. In fact, Stars GM Jim Nill told media including Matthew DeFranks of the Dallas News that Honka has requested a trade. The 23-year old was issued a qualifying offer earlier this offseason so that the Stars would retain his exclusive RFA rights, but there doesn’t appear to be much opportunity in the NHL for him.
Nill was actually quite candid with DeFranks when discussing the trade talks:
Teams that I’ve talked to might have interest but until they know what they can do with their RFAs, they can’t make any moves. They’re capped out. We’ll play this out, see where it goes.
Originally selected 14th overall in 2014, Honka has been unable to ever really find a role with Dallas and saw more healthy scratches than games last season. A dominant presence in the minor leagues, he’s played just 87 games at the NHL level and has 13 points. The young defenseman can move the puck quickly and effectively, but has warts in his game that aren’t being fixed by sitting in the press box. Reaching a deal with Dallas seemed far-fetched all offseason, and Honka’s agent Todd Diamond made it clear today to Sean Shapiro of The Athletic:
We’ve known for a little while and Jim more recently have all come to the conclusion it wasn’t going to happen in Dallas for Julius.
There are certainly risks to acquiring a player like Honka that hasn’t been able to crack an NHL lineup, but there should also be no lack of interest. In the short times he has been on the ice there has been enough positive signs that a rebuilding team could take a chance on him, especially as a relatively cheap option. Honka has little leverage for a big contract and likely just wants a chance to get into the lineup on a regular basis. Diamond also explained that Europe is not an option at this point, meaning any acquiring team would be definitely getting his services.