Stars RFA Julius Honka seeking return to NHL before signing deadline

Elliotte Friedman and Chris Johnston look at the biggest news from around the NHL, including trade talks surrounding Taylor Hall and the empty coaching job for the Toronto Marlies.

The Dallas Stars and unsigned restricted free agent Julius Honka will reach decision day on Sunday, as 5 p.m. ET on Dec. 1 represents the deadline for RFAs to sign a contract and be eligible to play in the NHL this season.

Honka, a 23-year-old defenceman who the Stars selected in the first round of the 2014 draft, is currently playing with Liiga’s JYP Jyvaskyla in Finland. But according to Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston, Honka would like to return to the NHL and there’s hope that he’ll do so.

“He wants to get back to North America,” Johnston said of Honka on Saturday night’s Headlines segment on Hockey Night in Canada. “There is a belief that the Dallas Stars might be able to get something done with him.”

Honka has 13 points and 28 penalty minutes across 87 career games with Dallas. He was a healthy scratch for much of the second half of the 2018-19 season and did not sign the Stars’ qualifying offer in the off-season. Then, in September, he requested a trade.

So if something does happen for Honka before Sunday’s RFA deadline, the expectation is that it will result in him playing somewhere outside Dallas.

“To this point, (the Stars) haven’t had offers that they like on the defenceman,” Johnston said. “But with that deadline looming, there’s still some hope he will be moved.”

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