The Dallas Stars made a move on Monday, acquiring blue liner Connor Carrick from the Toronto Maple Leafs to bolster Dallas’ defensive depth.
It was needed after head coach Jim Montgomery revealed that one of his defensemen was struggling with post-traumatic headaches. While defender Stephen Johns could return to practice this morning, the 26-year-old was placed on injured reserve prior to Dallas setting its 23-man opening night roster.
“It stems from some muscle-tightening that creates headaches,” Montgomery said to the Dallas News on Tuesday. “It’s not the same as a concussion, and there’s a lot of people that get diagnosed with concussions and actually that’s what they’re having. So he just needs to loosen up. He’s had a lot of tightening in his neck and it leads into the brain and headaches.”
While Montgomery maintains it is not the same as a concussion, we bet some former players will be worried about Johns’ condition.
Last season, Johns played 75 games for the Stars and averaged the most time on the penalty kill among returning Dallas defensemen.
“If he comes in and he’s playing the way we want to play, and he’s taking away time and space, his length, his size, his ability to separate people off pucks, he’s going to go in the lineup as soon as we see that we think he’s ready to go,” Montgomery said.
While Stars general manager Jim Nill reacted quickly to Johns being placed on injury reserve by landing Carrick from Toronto, it remains to be seen the impact of the condition on Johns long term and if it will continue to affect him this season. If he will return or deal with the injury for a much longer period...
The Stars appear to be serious about returning to a contending role this season, but Dallas surely wants to make sure its roster is healthy to make a long run this time around.
This news concerning Johns might be worrisome, especially as it comes before the puck drops for the 2018-19 season.
Let’s hope Johns feels better and that the Stars can manage to keep its blue line healthy this season.