Just as the Stars got a major piece of their top six back in the lineup, they’ve gone and lost a key member of their defensive corps. Such is life in Dallas through the early part of the season.
On Saturday, in the same game veteran winger Patrick Sharp returned to the Stars’ lineup after missing 14 games due to a concussion, Dallas appears to have also lost rearguard Johnny Oduya for at least a handful of games due to a lower-body injury.
Oduya has been averaging nearly 19 minutes per game and has been a steady middle of the lineup player, but had to leave Saturday night’s contest against the Edmonton Oilers after skating a mere 15 minutes. He left the game with less than 11 minutes left in the third period. When or how exactly Oduya suffered the lower-body ailment is unknown, but it’s a definite blow to the back end.
Oduya’s injury is just another in a long list of ailments the Stars have had to deal with this season. At various points heading into and throughout the campaign, Dallas has been without the likes of Tyler Seguin, Jason Spezza, Cody Eakin, Ales Hemsky, Jiri Hudler and Mattias Janmark.
With Oduya out of the lineup, the Stars are going to be leaning more heavily on some of the young defensemen in the system, more specifically 22-year-old Esa Lindell and 20-year-old Julius Honka.
For Lindell, the recall to the big club comes just days after he was demoted to the Texas Stars, and there’s a good chance he could be right back on the second- or bottom-pairing. When he was in the lineup, Lindell has been suiting up alongside John Klingberg, and that’s very well he could be again. However, this could be a chance for Honka to get his first look at NHL action.
Ahead of the season, Honka was considered the top prospect in the Stars’ system. Through 16 games in the AHL this season, Honka has netted three goals and 12 points as a top-pairing defenseman, and over the past two seasons he’s managed 19 goals and 75 points in 141 games.
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