Stars keep together core in hopes of making another run at Cup

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After the NHL Draft, free agency and other offseason moves, NHL.com is examining where each team stands in preparation for the 2020-21 regular season, which is targeted to start Jan. 1. Today, the Dallas Stars:

The Dallas Stars weren’t looking to make any major changes after advancing to the Stanley Cup Final for the first time since 2000.

In fact, their most important offseason move — signing goalie Anton Khudobin to a three-year contract on Oct. 9 — was made to keep a good thing going. 

Khudobin was 16-8-4 with a 2.22 goals-against average and led the NHL with a .930 save percentage (minimum 15 starts) in 30 regular-season games (26 starts) last season. However, he stepped up as the No. 1 in the postseason when Ben Bishop, who had knee surgery in May, was unfit to play and went 14-10-0 with a 2.69 GAA, .917 save percentage and one shutout in 25 games (24 starts). 

“I told [my agent], if we’re not going to seal the deal in Dallas, he knew where I wanted to go. I didn’t want to go just for money or years, I wanted to go to a team that have a chance to win,” Khudobin said. “So that’s it. This signing here means that we still have a chance.”

 

[RELATED: Complete Team Reset coverage]

 

Playing in front of Khudobin and Bishop, the Stars allowed 2.52 goals per game last season, second fewest in the NHL. In 2018-19, Khudobin’s first season in Dallas, the Stars allowed 2.44 goals per game, which also ranked second in the League.

“They play for each other, and it’s important,” Stars general manager Jim Nill said of Bishop and Khudobin. “We’re fortunate to be in the NHL and have two No. 1 goalies. They’ve proven that, and to have success in this League, you have to have goaltending. When you don’t have it, you notice it right away. I’m comfortable now that we have one of the top tandems in the NHL.”

In addition to Khudobin, the Stars re-signed forward Radek Faksa to a five-year contract Oct. 11 after he scored 20 points (11 goals, nine assists) in 66 regular-season games and eight points (three goals, five assists) in 19 postseason games.

Dallas also signed defenseman Mark Pysyk to a one-year contract on Oct. 10. Pysyk, who gives Dallas depth on its back end, scored 18 points (nine goals, nine assists) in 58 regular-season games with the Florida Panthers, and had no points in four postseason games.

Here’s what the Stars look like today:

 

Key arrivals

None

 

Key departures

Mattias Janmark, F: A key player on the penalty kill who also scored 21 points (six goals, 15 assists) in 62 games last season, Janmark agreed to a one-year contract with the Chicago Blackhawks on Oct. 12. … Corey Perry, F: The veteran, who is an unrestricted free agent, scored 21 points (five goals, 16 assists) in 57 regular-season games and nine points (five goals, four assists) in 27 postseason games.

 

On the cusp

Joel Kiviranta, F: The 24-year-old scored one goal in 11 regular-season games, but he made his name known in the postseason, when he scored six points, including five goals, in 14 games. … Ty Dellandrea, F: The 20-year-old scored 70 points (32 goals, 38 assists) in 47 games with Flint of the Ontario Hockey League last season. He also scored five points (three goals, two assists) in seven games to help Canada finish first at the 2020 IIHF World Junior Championship. … Thomas Harley, D: The 19-year-old scored 57 points (18 goals, 39 assists) in 59 games with Mississauga of the OHL, and he made his NHL debut against the Colorado Avalanche in the round-robin portion of the Stanley Cup Qualifiers on Aug. 5. … Nick Caamano, F: The 22-year-old scored two points (one goal, one assist) in 12 regular-season games and had no points in four postseason games for the Stars. He also scored 23 points (nine goals, 14 assists) in 36 games with Texas of the American Hockey League. … Joel L’Esperance, F: The 25-year-old scored one goal in three games for the Stars and had 40 points (25 goals, 15 assists) in 58 games for Texas of the AHL.

Video: DAL@COL, Gm7: Kiviranta nets hat trick in Game 7 win

 

What they still need

To sign restricted free agent forward Roope Hintz. The 23-year-old scored 33 points (19 goals, 14 assists) in 60 regular-season games and 13 points (two goals, 11 assists) in 25 postseason games last season.

 

Fantasy focus

The biggest fantasy question surrounding the Stars is their goalie situation with Bishop and Khudobin, who emerged as one of the most valuable players at the position in the postseason. Bishop has lost his top-five goalie status but remains a safe draft choice among the first 10. Given Bishop’s injury history, his fantasy owners should handcuff Khudobin, who has proven he can be a viable starter if needed. — Rob Reese

 

Projected lineup

Jamie BennTyler SeguinAlexander Radulov

Joel Kiviranta — Joe PavelskiDenis Gurianov

Justin DowlingRoope HintzJason Dickinson

Andrew Cogliano — Radek Faksa — Blake Comeau

Esa LindellJohn Klingberg

Jamie OleksiakMiro Heiskanen

Andrej SekeraTaylor Fedun

Ben Bishop

Anton Khudobin 

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