Khudobin to enter free agency but Stars hope to re-sign goalie

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Anton Khudobin, who started for the Dallas Stars through most of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, will enter free agency when the signing period opens Friday, Oct. 9, general manager Jim Nill said Thursday.

“He’s 34 years old, it’s probably his last contract and I think he wants to see what the market is,” Nill said. “I fully understand that. He’s earned that right.”

Khudobin, who replaced injured goalie Ben Bishop, was 14-10-0 with a 2.69 goals-against average, .917 save percentage and one shutout in 25 postseason games (24 starts). He was 16-8-4 with a 2.22 GAA and .930 save percentage in 30 regular-season games (26 starts).

Nill said Khudobin had surgery on his arm Wednesday.

“He had numbness in his hands, numbness holding his stick,” Nill said. “It was just a nerve issue with no long-term effects. The doctor moved the nerves around, everything should be fine.”

Khudobin signed a two-year, $5 million contract with the Stars on July 1, 2018, and in two seasons is 32-25-9 with a 2.42 GAA and .926 save percentage in 71 games (63 starts).

He’s 99-76-25 with a 2.46 GAA, .919 save percentage and eight shutouts in 218 NHL games (198 starts) with the Minnesota Wild, Boston Bruins, Carolina Hurricanes, Anaheim Ducks and Stars.

Nill said he’s hoping Khudobin comes back to Dallas, but the Stars will look at other options.

Video: DAL@TBL, Gm5: Khudobin shuts down Point’s tip-in

“The goalie market is quite flooded right now and we’ll analyze that as we go forward,” Nill said. “We want (Khudobin) back, he’s a big part of our team, but I understand the business. If he gets something better to where he wants to go, I fully understand. If that’s the case, we’re very confident in Jake Oettinger and Ben Bishop and we know there are other options out there.”

Bishop was 21-16-4 with a 2.50 goals-against average, .920 save percentage and two shutouts in 44 regular-season games (43 starts), but had knee surgery in late May and played three postseason games, going 1-2-0 with an .844 save percentage. 

Nill said Bishop didn’t have enough time to heal from his surgery, so the Stars shut him down after he allowed four goals on 19 shots in a 6-3 loss to the Colorado Avalanche in Game 5 of the Western Conference Second Round on Aug. 31. Bishop is expected to be ready for next season, which is targeted to begin Jan. 1, 2021.

Oettinger played his first two NHL games during the postseason and saved all eight shots he faced in relief of Khudobin. He has not played a regular-season game.

Forwards Corey Perry and Mattias Janmark also will enter free agency Friday, Nill said.

Perry signed a one-year, $1 million contract with the Stars on July 1, 2019. The 35-year-old scored nine points (five goals, four assists) in 27 postseason games and 21 points (five goals, 16 assists) in 57 regular-season games. Perry has scored 797 points (377 goals, 420 assists) in 1,045 NHL games for the Anaheim Ducks and Stars.

Janmark scored eight points (one goal, seven assists) in 26 postseason games and 21 points (six goals, 15 assists) in 62 regular-season games. The 27-year-old has scored 109 points (46 goals, 63 assists) in 297 NHL games, all with the Stars.

Nill said he plans to talk to Miro Heiskanen about a long-term contract after free agency. The defenseman has one season remaining on the three-year, entry-level contract he signed with Dallas on July 8, 2017.

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