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Another defensive shakeup in Dallas, as Johns sent to minors

Dallas Stars v Calgary Flames

CALGARY, AB - NOVEMBER 10: Stephen Johns #28 of the Dallas Stars in action against the Calgary Flames during an NHL game at Scotiabank Saddledome on November 10, 2016 in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. (Photo by Derek Leung/Getty Images)

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So far this season, Lindy Ruff has healthy scratched Dan Hamhuis, parked John Klingberg for missing a team meeting, lost Johnny Oduya to injury and given Julius Honka his NHL debut.

Needless to say, there have been plenty of developments on Dallas’ defense -- and another one occurred on Friday, when the Stars sent Stephen Johns down to AHL Texas.

Johns, 24, was a fairly regular presence in the lineup this year, appearing in 16 of 21 games while racking up four points. He led the team with 44 hits, and sat tied for third in blocked shots (with 32).

But he, like several other Dallas d-men this season, has had his struggles. Johns sat as a healthy scratch on a few occasions -- including a two-game stretch in late October -- and really struggled in his last outing, going minus-3 in just under 18 minutes of action in a loss to Edmonton on Saturday.

Johns hasn’t played since the Oilers defeat, sitting out Monday’s win over Minnesota and Wednesday’s loss to Nashville.

Looking ahead, it’s tough to predict what will happen on Dallas’ blueline.

Honka’s emergence has given Ruff another option, and Ruff appears willing to use it. Honka, the 14th overall pick in 2014, played 21 minutes in his NHL debut versus Minny, then 18 against the Preds. Towering rearguard Jamie Oleksiak has also been used more in November, after getting just two games in October.

Esa Lindell has started to emerge of late, and there’s always the reliable Jordie Benn in the mix (Benn is actually having a solid year, with six points through 19 games, averaging 19:14 TOI).

Dallas hosts Vancouver tonight at American Airlines.