In the dawn of free agency on Sunday, the Dallas Stars are rumored to have signed former Boston Bruins goaltender Anton Khudobin. The reported term on the deal is two years for an AAV of $2.5 million, in a move that can be seen as an upgrade to the much maligned backup goaltending situation in Dallas.
2 years and around $2.5 million per. https://t.co/ME7P5USGUz— Darren Dreger (@DarrenDreger) July 1, 2018
The 32 year-old Russian native stands at 5’11, 195lbs, and is known as a very athletic goaltender. Originally drafted by the Minnesota Wild with the 206th pick in 2004, Khudobin made his debut with the Wild in 2009-10, and has suited up for the Carolina Hurricanes, Anaheim Ducks, and Boston Bruins in the eight years since. It is also interesting to note that Khudobin is not a stranger to hockey in Texas, as the goaltender spent time with the Texas Wildcatters of the ECHL back in 2007-08.
Over the course of his career, Khudobin has bounced between AHL and NHL duty, but seemed to stick in the NHL more frequently over the past four years. Currently his NHL ledger reads as follows: 147 games played; 67 wins, 51 losses, 2.47 GAA. However, what caught the eye of the the hockey world was his solid season in 2017-18 with the Boston Bruins backing up Tukka Rask. Khudobin played quite a bit, be it giving Rask a breather or filling in for injury. In his 31 games played this past season, he recorded a 16-6-7 record with a 2.56 goals against average and a save percentage of .913.
Khudobin has shown the ability to consistently stop the puck and at times, step in to be the number one guy for a club staying afloat through injuries, etc. He is also capable of putting up good performances when called upon in difficult spots, a reason why the Stars have targeted him for the spot behind Ben Bishop. His skill-set speaks of an ideal backup, who can be called upon to win games for his club, and his limited duty can shield him from his inconsistency issues.
This move on day one of free agency accomplishes a key mission of Jim Nill in the potential solving of the problem area that has plagued the Stars for years. Khudobin to the Stars has been applauded in the twitterverse today, and if all goes to plan, could be applauded as the season progresses.
Of course, this move is unquestionably a move for a backup goaltender, and the success of the Stars in net hinges on Ben Bishop’s health and consistency, something the Stars lacked down the stretch. Khudobin will slot right in behind Bishop, and could play anywhere from 30-35 games, giving the club a solid option to keep their number one guy fresh. Overall, the cap hit is manageable, and gives the Stars the continued flexibility to explore other positions of need during free agency.