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.
After all, Honka is posting points in the WHL at a point-per-game pace, yet he finished the WJC with just one assist in seven games. But Honka's role at this tournament was as a third-pairing defender who was not being counted on to produce offense, even though he clearly is comfortable doing so. But fellow Finnish defenders Rasmus Ristolainen, Esa Lindell, and Ville Pokka took care of the defensive point-getting for the gold medal-winning squad, allowing the 18-year-old Honka to ease himself into the Under-20 level of international play.
Honka has had no problem acclimating himself to the WHL after moving over from Finland for the 2013-14 season. In 38 games this season, Honka has scored 12 goals and added 26 assists for 38 points while posting a +9 rating for a team that has been flirting with the middle of the pack in the WHL so far this season. The Jyväskylä, Finland native is considered a likely first round selection for the 2014 NHL Draft, with his strong showing in his WHL rookie season no doubt playing a major role in his high draft ranking.
Honka spoke with Hockey's Future following his country's win over Canada in the WJC semi-finals, a conversation that was captured in this HF video.
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