The Dundee Stars announced the departure of forward Johnny Walker on Wednesday [15 November], with the franchise yet to secure a replacement.
The American joined the Stars from the ECHL’s Utah Grizzlies this offseason and was billed as an important top-six addition for Dundee.
After a dozen appearances in all competitions, he departs with an unimpressive three-point tally (two goals, one assist) as head coach Marc LeFebvre attempts to bolster his struggling roster.
“The club would like to thank Johnny for his efforts during his time here in Dundee and wish him all the best for the future,” a team spokesperson wrote of the Arizona-born forward’s mutual contract termination.
Analysis: Dundee Stars, Johnny Walker part ways by mutual contract termination
The Dundee Stars have made a so-so start to the season, winning four of their opening nine league fixtures. (Granted, they stunk in the Challenge Cup, losing five of their six group stage contests).
With that in mind, head coach and director of hockey operations Marc Lefebvre is looking for more bang for his buck from the imports on his roster.
At the time of his departure, Walker was by far the least productive forward in Dundee, with the likes of Spencer Naas, Ryan Valentini, and Brendan Harms each trebling his point tally.
The former Arizona State University captain never clicked in Dundee and fell to the fourth line as a result.
Receiving a two-game suspension for an illegal check to the head in a game against the Manchester Storm in early September was also a factor in the rapid erosion of his stock.
With his ice time falling to a paltry 10:19 in his latest appearance, nobody can deny that now is the perfect moment for an amicable divorce between player and club.
There is a productive forward in Walker, which is why this author tipped him to excel in the Elite League – but a lack of chemistry doomed his spell in Dundee within months of his arrival.
It is now down to the Stars to find an adequate replacement for the American, which is never a straightforward process midseason.