Now the last restricted free agent left unsigned in the National Hockey League, Julius Honka has not changed his mind: he still wants out of Dallas.
The Stars were reportedly attempting to move him earlier this summer and so, many believed Honka would find a taker sooner rather than later. However, it seems like patience is growing thin as Stars insider Sean Shapiro of The Athletic has revealed Thursday morning that Honka has signed with JYP Jyväskylä of the Finnish Elite League.
The deal does include an out-clause to return to the NHL if he signs. He has until Dec. 1st to find a taker in the NHL or else he will be forced to play overseas for the rest of the season.
The young defenseman failed to break through to the main roster last season. Honka was the 14th overall pick at the 2014 National Hockey League Entry Draft but he has only gone on to appear in a combined 87 NHL games for the Dallas Stars since he was selected. It now appears that after flunking out with the organizations current coaching staff that the Stars believe a fresh start would be best for both parties involved.
It is quite clear that the Stars still place considerable value on Honka as a player in spite of their desire for a trade, based on the way they utilized him last season alone. Honka appeared in 29 games for the Stars during the 2018 - 2019 campaign and it appeared that the coaching staff had seen everything they needed to see at that point. Stars head coach Jim Montgomery would make Honka a healthy scratch for literally every game that followed the 2019 NHL All-Star break and every game that the Stars played in the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs, but still the team showed that they valued him.
Honka was instead scratched for 48 straight games in order to keep him on the main roster and to protect him from the waiver process, further indication that the Stars had been looking to find a trade here and get something out of a former top 15 first round draft selection.
Let’s see what comes next.