Top Pick Julius Honka Among Six Sent to Texas Today

The Dallas Stars assigned six players to the Texas Stars today: Justin Dowling, Radek Faksa, Julius Honka, John Klingberg, Curtis McKenzie and Brendan Ranford. The name that should stand out on that list is Julius Honka. The first round pick from this year's draft was expected to play in the WHL this season but instead will spend the year in Cedar Park.

As recently as three days ago, it was expected that Texas fans would have to wait as long as a year more to see Honka at the Cedar Park Center. There are special rules for the AHL eligibility of players drafted from the Canadian major junior system. Those are covered in-depth in the Glossary. Honka appeared to have been drafted under these guidelines, as he was playing for the WHL's Swift Current last season. However, a re-interpretation of his assignment from JYP as a loan and not a permanent assignment made him eligible to head to the AHL this season. This considerably moves up his development timeline. It also puts a kink in the previous plans for the Texas Stars defense.

It appeared that the signing of William Wrenn last month was a response to Honka not being AHL-eligible. Now that signing may actually be superfluous. Assuming Brenden Dillon is signed by the start of the season, take a look at pairing and detination projections for the organization before the Honka news:
Dillon-Jo. Benn

Texas (without Honka)

OK, now what? Add Honka at the AHL and what happens? Of a group that includes Oleksiak, Meech, Gaunce, Klingberg, Fortunus and Jokipakka, who do you scratch so that Honka gets ice time?

Otherwise, big camps for several others on this list. Dowling had his first NHL preseason action in his first year on a new contract with Dallas. Ranford did as well. Curtis McKenzie impressed and made a name for himself as a callup throughout the year. Klingberg and Faksa were expected assignments, but both had bright spots in the preseason that give good indication of their trajectory.

Players who are expected with Texas that are still in Dallas include Travis Morin, Brett Ritchie, Jamie Oleksiak and Jussi Rynnas.

Here's the release:
The Texas Stars announced today their NHL parent club, the Dallas Stars, has reduced their training camp roster by six players. Justin Dowling, Radek Faksa, Julius Honka, John Klingberg, Curtis McKenzie and Brendan Ranford will join the Texas Stars training camp in Cedar Park.

Honka (HAHN-kuh) is the only member from the group that did not skate with last year’s Texas Stars squad that won the 2014 Calder Cup championship. The 19-year-old defenseman was the 14th overall pick in this year’s NHL Entry Draft for Dallas. McKenzie was awarded the Dudley “Red” Garrett award last season as the AHL’s Rookie of the Year, scoring 65 points (27 goals, 38 assists) in 72 games.

Faksa (RA-dehk FAWK-suh) was Dallas’ first-round pick (13th overall) in 2012. Dowling and Ranford each played significant roles for Texas in their championship run last season, and Klingberg tallied 28 points (11 goals, 17 assists) as a defenseman in 50 games last season in the Swedish Hockey League.


  1. By process of elimination, there's no way Oleksiak, Klingberg, or Jokipakka get scratched. That leaves Meech, Gaunce, and Fortunus. I doubt Gaunce gets taken out, as he provides a more physical presence than everyone except Oleksiak. Meech, Fortunus, and Honka all play the same style of offensive defenseman. After Meech coming up huge in the playoffs, I'm sad to speculate Fortunus might get the short end of the stick on this one.

    1. It's a little weird for sure. I don't disagree with your logic. The other options are a rotating scratch or a hot hand approach.

    2. I doubt Fortunus get scratched often, yeah maybe for a a day off but not as a matter of practice like Wathier was. First, in the past wasn't Fortunus the guy that tended to get paired with the young but "blue chip" prospects to help bring them along? Second he is flat out more valuable than Gaunce, who Gaunce may be more physical, but Fortunus makes up the differance in his stick checking and better skating skills. #rd, we have averaged 103 points each of the last two seasons with Fortunus as Captain and it would be ill advised for Laxdal to rock that boat. And last is Fortunus may have those who criticize him but he was heavily embraced by Texas giving him a AHL contract and making him vet/captain after knowing him very well from previous years.

      In short I think we will see a every changing scratched list by I think Gaunce will we the most often one, besides finding a guy to grind isn't really all that hard.

  2. This is all under the assumption that Dillon is under contract with Dallas once the season starts. They are still in negotiations, and from what I've heard, very much off on pricing right now. So if Dillon isn't under contract, at least at the beginning of the season, that leaves an extra spot on the roster that either Oleksiak or Jokipakka (who is also still in Dallas currently) is going to take. If that is the case, that opens up a spot on the Texas defense for Honka to take (over Wrenn of course)

    1. Good point. Dillon might be wanting #1 Defenseman money and the Stars would be crazy to give it to him. Many NHL clubs he would be a third liner. Him being the "Best" Dallas defender is akin to being the rooms tallest midget.

  3. Everyone is forgetting that Oleksiak isn't the only Texas Star defenseman still in Dallas. And if you read any Dallas Stars blogs or websites, Jokipakka is making a much better case than Oleksiak for that last defensive roster spot.


Post a Comment

Thanks for commenting. Remember to keep it civil. Using a name will help us identify replies and build a Texas Stars community.