If you were a Dallas Stars fan while they were riding Kari Lehtonen until he broke, it may be hard to believe your team has come to this: The Victory Green Gang has too many NHL-quality goaltenders.
It may be just as hard to believe that having Ben Bishop, Anton Khudobin, and Jake Oettinger in their ranks could become a problem sooner rather than later. But other than the obvious cap issues, the logjam can cause development problems in the net pipeline and asset-management issues in other areas.
It’s far better for the Stars to manage the challenge before it starts managing them. The Dallas Morning News’ Matthew DeFranks has explored several options, from the passive to the aggressive to the downright imaginative.
Clearly, there was a certain amount of hope in the 2021 expansion-draft scenario. But Khudobin’s play suffered the knock-on effects of both COVID-19 and a Stanley Cup Final run:
...Khudobin struggled during an inconsistent season in which he had a .905 save percentage, 2.54 GAA and was pulled five times. He turned 35 earlier this month, and has two more years left on his contract that has a $3.333 million cap hit. That’s not an enticing package for a team starting from scratch.
Add in that the Stars will have a quality forward (probably Jason Dickinson) exposed in the draft, and Seattle has better options in Dallas. Plus, there’s a host of goalies available for Seattle, either during expansion (Adin Hill, Jake Allen or Braden Holtby) or unrestricted free agency (Antti Raanta, Chris Driedger, Jaroslav Halak, Petr Mrazek, Philipp Grubauer, Jonathan Bernier or Mike Smith).
But what if you want to hold on to what you’ve got? It’s not an academic question, as the need for re-signing Khudobin in the first place illustrates:
What if Bishop isn’t ready to command the full workload of a No. 1 goalie, or if he suffers a setback? It’s not a situation that the Stars obviously want, but it’s something that’s arose through Bishop’s years in Dallas, as he’s missed time injured in each of his three seasons in Victory Green....
Even if Bishop’s knee is fully healthy, the Stars may be wary of Bishop’s injury history, especially as he turns 35 years old in November. The best insurance against an injured Bishop might be two backups in Khudobin and Oettinger.
Matt has much more – including an actively stupid scenario that you’ll never see in real life, probably, maybe. [SportsDayDFW]
If you don’t follow the Dallas Stars Foundation yet, the time may be now. They always have cute kids...
Field Day fun with our friends at St. Philip’s. pic.twitter.com/G5g2DP7JFq— Dallas Stars Foundation (@DS_Foundation) May 21, 2021
...but they’ll also add in some doggos as a signing bonus.
Around The Leagues
Stanley Cup Roundup
- The Carolina Hurricanes came storming back, and now they have a 3-2 series lead over the Nashville Predators as well as a 3-2 win in overtime. [Canes Country]
- And the Toronto Maple Leafs are on the verge of advancing after Jack Campbell earned his first Stanley Cup shutout, 4-0. [NHL]
WITNESS Joe Thornton’s and Jason Spezza’s fearsome old-man strength!
Their work last night sent stats wizards and history mavens alike into scramble mode.
Great stat, per co-worker Scott Lennox: Joe Thornton/Jason Spezza are a combined 79 years, 308 days old. That's the sixth-oldest goal/assist combo in playoff history. Oldest is 82 years-plus -- Chris Chelios from Nicklas Lidstrom on April 21, 2007.— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) May 26, 2021
But have we seen the last of another NHL long-timer? Zdeno Chara, atypically for him, won’t commit to Season 24 yet.
Is this the end of the road for Zdeno Chara? https://t.co/SzjELjKWue— 98.5 The Sports Hub (@985TheSportsHub) May 26, 2021
Speaking of Washington Capitals: Don’t keep trying to send T.J. Oshie to the Seattle Kraken just because “they’re his home team.” He hates that, apparently.
T.J. Oshie said he is very happy with the Capitals and is not hoping for a chance to go home to Washington state to play for the Kraken.https://t.co/PNiDsa1aKe— NHL.com (@NHLdotcom) May 25, 2021
And you thought the Great One had resigned because the Edmonton Oilers are just - that - bad. (Admit it.)
Goalies work harder than ever in an NHL that prioritizes scoring. So why should a team with a tandem ride one hot netminder in the playoffs? There are reasons, as it turns out.
More teams use goalie platoons now than at any other time in NHL history…in the regular season.— Matt Larkin (@THNMattLarkin) May 26, 2021
In the playoffs, however, the 1A/1B system is a path to failure. Why?
For a league that lost billions during the pandemic, setting up the sports-betting analog of a Genius Bar is an opportunity “too big to miss.” Those undisclosed injuries, though....
The full sportsbook has opened at Capital One arena in DC. Here's the story on how and why it came together. And why this is a precursor for the future of other arenas https://t.co/o5YylBbPfE— Sean Shapiro (@seanshapiro) May 26, 2021
Greetings From Scenic Cedar Park
Riley Damiani had a pretty epic season, and the AHL wants you to know about it.
A great debut season deserves some hardware— Texas Stars (@TexasStars) May 25, 2021
Riley Damiani has been named to the 2020-21 @theAHL All-Rookie Team after pacing all first-year players with 36 points.
Read: https://t.co/Zy7PuNEQ2P pic.twitter.com/AwynPKpa3w
An early summer doesn’t mean you can’t have your daily dose of Jason Robertson. Enjoy.