The Dallas Stars have finalized a deal to re-sign goaltender Anton Khudobin. The reported term on the deal is three years for a total of $10 million. The breakdown of the payout is as reported below by Pierre LeBrun.
Khubodin deal is finalized with Dallas: three years and $10 M total.— Pierre LeBrun (@PierreVLeBrun) October 9, 2020
year 1, $2.5 M
year 2, $3.75 M
year 3, $3.75 M
The deal to bring back Khudobin comes after much speculation that the veteran netminder was going to test the free agency market after his heroic playoff run that helped the Stars to the Stanley Cup Final. The move to keep him also fortifies the Stars’ goaltending situation with the recent injury history of Ben Bishop. In Khudobin’s two seasons with the Stars, he has arguably cemented himself as the best backup goaltender in the league.
As Saad Yousuf reports below, the Stars’ goaltending situation is fairly set in stone until 2023. However, the Stars will also be planning for the upcoming Seattle Kraken expansion draft in 2021. This deal with Khudobin also comes at a price tag that the Stars could live with from a salary cap hit perspective, as the deal has a manageable term and dollar amount. This also doesn't exactly close the door on prospect Jake Oettinger, as this allows the Stars to be deliberate with his development down in Cedar Park, and most importantly, not rush his full-time move into the NHL.
That's what it is contractually. Entirely possible Khudobin finishes this deal in Seattle. Might depend on how he plays this upcoming season.— Saad Yousuf (@SaadYousuf126) October 9, 2020
From the Dallas Stars’ official press release, General Manager Jim Nill had this say:
“Anton’s play over the past two seasons has been nothing short of exceptional,” said Nill. “The immense skill and unmatched work ethic we’ve known Anton possess were on display for the entire hockey world to see during the Stanley Cup Playoffs. His impact on our team has been immeasurable and we’re excited for Anton to continue his success with the Stars.”
If three years and $3.5M AAV is the deal, Jim Nill signed Anton Khudobin for the same term that Minnesota signed Cam Talbot, and for less money.— Matthew DeFranks (@MDeFranks) October 9, 2020
The Stars were rumored to be in the conversation for former Calgary Flames goaltender Cam Talbot. As mentioned earlier, Khudobin appeared to want to test free agency. However, in a year where the goaltending market was quite packed, and term and dollar amount were potential dealbreakers in the era of flat salary caps due to COVID-19, it was unclear at the start of the day how that would affect potential deals for goaltenders on the market. The Stars also intimated that they would be comfortable with bringing up Jake Oettinger if Khudobin left the team during free agency. At the end of the day, the Stars’ best option in their minds, was to bring back the steady hand to solidify their tandem for the foreseeable future.
Anton Khudobin (3x3.5) has been very good for both of the last two years. pic.twitter.com/OTGBJhORwy— Micah Blake McCurdy (@IneffectiveMath) October 9, 2020
To recap Khudobin’s time in Dallas, he has been terrific for the Stars. In two seasons, the 5-foot-11 goaltender has appeared in 71 games, recording 63 wins, 32 losses, and nine overtime losses. His compete in the crease is unrivaled, and he uses his athleticism to make up for his smaller stature compared to his peers across the league. At 34 years old, he is playing the best hockey of his career.
His goaltending statistics are impressive with a 2.42 goals against average, and a .926 save percentage. In the 2018-19 campaign, Khudobin recorded his best season in the NHL with a .930 SV% and a 2.22 GAA.
It was in the 2019-20 playoffs where Khudobin earned his new deal, after he played out-of-his-mind hockey to bring the Stars within two wins of the championship. Arguably, Khudobin stole the show in the Western Conference Final by frustrating the Golden Knights at every turn. In 24 postseason starts, Khudobin recorded 14 wins, 10 losses, and set the record for most saves in a postseason by a Dallas Star goaltender with 811 saves total.
Arguably, the biggest question mark of the off-season was addressing the backup goaltending situation with Khudobin. Given the Stars’ uncertainty with Bishop and what will most likely be a condensed 2020-21 season with the pandemic, the team solidified a major position of need. If the past two seasons are any indication, Khudobin is more than up to the task with his battle in the crease.