Julius Honka
Image: WHL

Julius Honka

Hometown:

Jyaskyla Finland

Team:

Dallas Stars

Currently Playing In:

Pro

Birthday:

1995-12-03

Position:

D

Eligible for draft:

2014

Shoots:

Right

Drafted:

2014

Height:

5-11

Acquired:

1st round (14th overall), 2014

Weight:

175 lbs.

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History

2010-11: Julius Honka played for the JyP Jyvaskyla U16 team and was an assistant captain for Finland’s U16 team. He scored 6 goals with 22 assists in 35 regular season games for JyP with 38 penalty minutes and in three playoff games was scoreless with 4 penalty minutes. In seven international contests for Finland he had five assists.

2011-12: Honka skated for the JyP U18 team as a 16-year-old and played for Finland’s U17 team. In 35 regular season games he scored 8 goals with 7 assists and had 32 penalty minutes. Honka scored 2 goals with 5 assists and had 6 penalty minutes in 13 games for the Finland U17 squad.

2012-13: Honka joined JyP’s U20 team and played for Finland’s U18 team in both the 2012 Ivan Hlinka Memorial and 2013 World Junior Championship tournaments. Playing in 42 regular season games for JyP’s A junior squad he scored 4 goals with 11 assists and was -4 with 47 penalty minutes. In five games at the Ivan Hlinka tournament he had 2 assists and was +2 with 4 penalty minutes. Skating for Finland’s bronze medal-winning team in Sochi, he scored 1 goal with 3 assists and was +2 with 2 penalty minutes. Honka was selected by the WHL’s Swift Current Broncos in the first round (34th overall) of the 2013 CHL Import Draft.

2013-14: Honka made a successful jump from Finland to North America — skating for Swift Current in the WHL — and played for the gold medal-winning Finland U20 team at the World Juniors. He got off to a fast start with the Broncos, scoring 12 goals with 24 assists in his first 35 games prior to the World Junior Championship. Honka scored 16 goals with 40 assists and was +10 with 52 penalty minutes in 62 regular season games. The Broncos finished second in the East Division and lost to Medicine Hat in the first round of the playoffs. Honka scored 2 goals and was -5 with 6 penalty minutes in six playoff games. In seven games at the WJC he had 1 assist and was +1 with 6 penalty minutes. Finland defeated Sweden, 3-2, in overtime in the gold medal game. Honka was selected for Team Orr in the 2014 CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game. He was ranked 11th amongst North American skaters in the Central Scouting final rankings and was selected by Dallas in the first round (14th overall) in the 2014 NHL Draft. He signed a three-year entry-level contract with the Stars in July 2014. 

2014-15: Honka made his pro debut with Dallas Stars’ AHL affiliate Texas as an 18-year-old — finishing as the club’s second-leading scorer amongst defensemen behind minor league veteran Derek Meech — and played for the Finland U20 team at the 2015 World Junior Championship. He scored 8 goals with 23 assists and was -10 with 55 penalty minutes in 68 games. The Stars finished second in the West Division before being swept by Rockford in a best-of-five first-round playoff series. Honka scored 1 goal with 1 assist and was +1 with 4 penalty minutes in three playoff games. He scored 1 goal with 1 assist and was -2 with 6 penalty minutes in five games for Finland at the WJC. 

Talent Analysis

Honka is a slick, puck-moving defenseman. With a hard, accurate right-handed shot he is a threat from the point and is masterful on the power play unit. Honka can dominate in offensive situations, but also understands positional play. He handles physical play despite his lack of bulk and stature.

Future

Honka is skating for the AHL's Texas Stars in 2015-16. In the second year of his original three-year contract, he continues to be an offensive presence from the blue line but his defensive game is steadily becoming more consistent. Honka's skills and instincts suggests he can be a top-four offensive defenseman at the NHL level.

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To look at the stat line for Finland defender Julius Honka following the completion of the 2014 World Junior Championship, it would be easy to assume that the offensive defenseman didn't have an effective showing at this event.

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