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Dallas Stars Playoff Hero Anton Khudobin Set to Test the Market

Anton Khudobin had a great postseason playoffs with the Dallas Stars. Can he leverage that play into a good contract as a free agent? Will he?

After the clock struck midnight on Anton Khudobin’s Cinderella story during the Stanley Cup Final and the steeds turned back into mice, it might have been disappointing for the Dallas Stars but it was a great story for Khudobin. In the end, the 34-year-old career backup goalie had strung together one of the hottest Stanley Cup goalie-runs of recent playoff history.

Related: Dallas Stars Expect Big Roster Changes Thanks to Bonus Overages

What Had Khudobin Accomplished?

Khudobin’s surprising play took the Stars right to the door – within a couple of games of winning the Stanley Cup – but Khudobin just couldn’t stop a great Lightning team, and that’s no knock on him. It was much further than even the most ardent Stars fans thought their team could go.

Now, most Dallas NHL fans want Khudobin back. Although the teams were working on a deal, as of this point in time nothing has materialized. According to Pierre LeBrun on Insider Trading, Khudobin’s agent Kent Hughes laid a number on the table but the Stars didn’t bite.

Anton Khudobin Dallas Stars
Anton Khudobin, Dallas Stars

Now it seems – unless something can get done by Friday afternoon – that the suddenly popular goalie will become a UFA and enter the off-season market as an unrestricted free agent.

Was Khudobin’s Nhet Wise?

Who knows if Khudobin’s saying Nhet (no in Russian) was a wise choice or not; there are a ton of solid goalies on the market? Still, it would seem Khudobin has some leverage based upon his strong playoffs. That alone should help him negotiate a good deal. The question is “Will it be with Dallas or another club?”

He ended the postseason with a record of 14-10, a goals-against-average of 2.69, and a .917 save percentage. But it wasn’t just the playoffs; Khudobin was great during the past two seasons in addition to his excellent playoff run while he filled in for an injured Bishop.

It seems as if the Stars organization wants to keep the goalie tandem of Khudobin and Ben Bishop together for what’s likely to be a shortened 2020-21 schedule. The Stars issue in making that happen is that the team also has a number of other players to sign and, up against a flat salary cap, that’s tough to do.

The Stars Plans for Next Season

The latest word we have is that the Stars general manager Nill has reported that Khudobin would test the open market as an unrestricted free agent. 

Nill has to hope Khudobin will return; however, at the same time the team has to be confident that Bishop and a new backup goalie Jake Oettinger can do the job if nothing transpires during free agency. As noted earlier, there’s a long list of good goalies that are on the move this offseason.

Related: Sekera Signs 2-Yr Extension With Dallas Stars

One has to believe Khudobin will land well – somewhere.

Today, the Stars general manager announced that Khudobin had undergone surgery yesterday to treat some numbness in his hand; however, that surgery seems to be minor and the 34-year-old goalie is expected to recover quickly.

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