The Dallas Stars announced today that Ben Bishop and Alexander Radulov would not be returning to the ice for the 2020-21 NHL season:
FRISCO, Texas - Dallas Stars General Manager Jim Nill offered the following updates on the health status of goaltender Ben Bishop and forward Alexander Radulov :
It has been determined that Bishop will not return to play this season, allowing him time to continue his rehabilitation and return to full health for the 2021-22 season.
Radulov will require surgery to repair a core muscle injury. The surgery will force him to miss the remainder of the season. He is expected to be fully recovered for the 2021-22 season.
Bishop has missed the entire season thus far as he has recovered from knee surgery surgery he underwent in late October, 2020. Bishop’s original estimation for a return was approximately five months, which slated him for a later March return. Bishop has skated in some practices, but has not been a full participant.
Radulov meanwhile suffered from injury during the season, originally sidelined after a game against the Columbus Blue Jackets on February 4th in which he scored three assists and logged a season high 20:23 time on ice. Radulov returned for a brief three game stretch in mid-March, but has not played since March 18th. Like Bishop, Radulov has skated in practice but has not been a full participant.
Bishop’s absence — while unfortunate — has been lessened by the emergence of rookie goaltender Jake Oettinger as a NHL-level starter, as well as continued strong play by normal backup goaltender Anton Khudobin. Replacing Radulov, however, has proved much more difficult — while rookie Jason Robertson has merged as one of the Stars’ leading scorers, the team is still severely lacking in offensive firepower.
The biggest takeaway from this announcement is arguably how the Stars view their playoff chances. General Manager Jim Nill has emphasized all season long how they hoped to receive boosts from players returning from injury, which is in part why the team ultimately made no trades before the NHL Trade Deadline. But Dallas still sits seven points out of a playoff spot with only three games in hand — by shutting down any chance for a Bishop or Radulov return, the Stars seem to be acknowledging that their playoff hopes are rather bleak.
Tyler Seguin Update
Similar to Ben Bishop, Tyler Seguin has also missed the entirety of the 2020-21 NHL season thus far due to recovering from offseason surgery. Seguin originally underwent surgery in early November and had a similar five month recovery timetable, lining him up for an early April return.
While Seguin has made his season debut yet, Jim Nill said this past Monday that he is expected to return to action within a couple of weeks. With the Stars’ current schedule, that would mean Seguin would be playing in roughly 5-8 games to close out the regular season.
How the Stars’ coaching staff handle Seguin upon his return will be interesting. As mentioned previously, Seguin’s return was originally viewed in the same vein as a trade deadline acquisition. However, there’s no telling where Dallas might be in the playoff hunt by the time he returns to action — they could have closed the gap, fallen clear out of contention, or be in the exact same spot they are now.
Regardless of the standings, it would be foolish for Dallas to rush Seguin back into playing top minutes again. He would likely be eased into the lineup, perhaps with sheltered minutes, until he was comfortable playing at NHL speed again. Even if the Stars miss the postseason, getting Seguin some NHL action will be valuable in advance of the 2021-22 season.
Joel Hanley Extended
The Stars also announced earlier today that they have signed defenseman Joel Hanley to a two year, $750K AAV contract extension.
Hanley has spent the last three seasons with Dallas mostly playing in the AHL, but more recently has become a more common insert into the NHL lineup. He’s a depth defender who is probably at best a third pairing defenseman, but as Jim Nill often says, you can never have too many defensemen. Hanley comes at a cheap price, and should be well worth the investment.
Here is the Stars’ press release concerning the signing:
FRISCO, Texas - Dallas Stars General Manager Jim Nill announced today the club has signed defenseman Joel Hanley to a two-year contract, which will run through the 2022-23 season. The two-year contract is worth $1.5 million, with an average annual value (AAV) of $750,000.
Hanley, 29, has recorded four assists (0-4=4) and a +3 plus/minus rating in 24 games with Dallas this season. The defenseman has logged new career highs with 25 hits and 21 blocked shots in 2020-21, while his 24 games played this season also mark a new career high. Hanley also missed five games due to injury from April 3 - 10.
Hanley has appeared in 70 career NHL regular-season games over parts of six seasons with Montreal, Arizona and Dallas, posting 12 assists (0-12=12) and a 12:41 average time on ice per game. The blueliner has also made two trips to the Stanley Cup Playoffs, recording two points (1-1=2) and a +3 rating in 13 career NHL postseason games, all with Dallas. Additionally, Hanley has amassed 115 points (19-96=115) in 359 career AHL regular-season games with Portland, St. John’s, Tucson and Texas. He has also skated in 18 career games in the Calder Cup Playoffs, registering five assists (0-5=5).
The 5-foot-11, 190-pound native of Keswick, Ontario was originally undrafted and signed with Dallas as a free agent on July 1, 2018.