Under the circumstances, it’s hard for hockey fans to look much further into the future than the next milestone in the NHL’s Return to Play plan. For Dallas Stars fans, that comes with an extra edge – because every summer game on the schedule may be the last one in Victory Green for Anton Khudobin.
The Stars, and their fans, have waited years for a 1B goalie like Khudobin. He finished the coronavirus-abbreviated 2019-20 regular season with the best save percentage in the league. His puckish personality on and off the ice is the stuff of social-media legend. And, barring another god-tier move from general manager Jim Nill, he’s about to become one of the hottest free agents on the market.
Dobby has a good gig in Dallas, and he knows it, writes Sean Shapiro in The Athletic. He’s the other half of one of the league’s most effective netminding pairs, and he can expect to get plenty of games as the Stars seek to keep starter Ben Bishop injury-free. Now it comes down to whether Nill can make the deal:
“This season, my stats, my records and stuff like that, this is all up to general manager Jim Nill,” Khudobin said. “He’s going to think what to offer and how to offer. So the answer is I’m not thinking about it. I’m just preparing to help my team to win, go farther as possible in the playoffs.”
Khudobin did, however, reiterate when asked about how happy he was in Dallas.
“Yes, I’m happy. I would like to stay.”
It’s also true that the pandemic is going to affect the salaries this summer’s free-agent class can demand.
It could be a smokescreen or a false hope — players say things they don’t mean — but at this point, the Stars and Khudobin appear to be on the same page. Khudobin likes life in Dallas; in addition to his on-ice role, he enjoys playing with two other Russians in Alexander Radulov and Denis Gurianov, and the Stars, according to a source, are interested in bringing him back and keeping their second-ranked goalie tandem intact.
Sean has more. [The Athletic DFW]
The Stars are scrimmaging, and all is right with the world.
— x-Dallas Stars (@DallasStars) July 20, 2020
Rick Bowness likes it, too.
“We liked the tempo — the guys are into it, they’re working. There was a lot of good things.”
Hear from Coach Bowness following the first scrimmage of camp ⬇ pic.twitter.com/7b0wS22eVy
— x-Dallas Stars (@DallasStars) July 19, 2020
And Matthew DeFranks got the number of that truck that just hit you.
Here are some clips of the Gurianov-Hintz-Seguin line. pic.twitter.com/lqo1VD1lm4
— Matthew DeFranks (@MDeFranks) July 19, 2020
Around The League(s)
The run-up to the playoffs is every bit as fast and furious as you probably think it is.
The NHL’s playoff format and return-to-play are unprecedented as teams are experiencing a chaotic sprint to get ready for Aug. 1 https://t.co/Wl8RkOtBwC
— Hockey Night in Canada (@hockeynight) July 19, 2020
Newly minted New Jersey Devils head coach Lindy Ruff is back in the saddle. So is the 31 Thoughts podcast. Coincidence…?
31 Thoughts podcast is back, blog returns as games approach. Lots of Return to Play talk; guests are Jim Rutherford and Lindy Ruff. Enjoy!https://t.co/0ZrKopL4KD
— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) July 16, 2020
The flat cap works better for some teams than others. Matt Larkin examines a few who stand to make out like bandits, from the Ottawa Senators to the Colorado Avalanche.
Who can take advantage of the salary cap remaining at $81.5 million?
These six squads could prey on cash-strapped teams in trades or become big players in free agency.
— The Hockey News (@TheHockeyNews) July 18, 2020
Also at THN: Youth hockey still has the chance to do things right. The Vail International Hockey Club can show you.
Vail International Hockey: Around the world in 30 years – Vail is known as skier’s paradise. Lesser known is the fact the town has been sending youth hockey teams on globetrotting goodwill missions for the past three decades. https://t.co/JOSZoPTtb8
— The Hockey News (@TheHockeyNews) July 19, 2020
Did you miss the hype video? Let’s watch the hype video together. Enjoy.
Eyes on the prize 🏆 pic.twitter.com/AZOBaNWkwO
— x-Dallas Stars (@DallasStars) July 11, 2020