Dec 14: Khudobin has cleared waivers and will be assigned to the AHL, according to Saad Yousuf of The Athletic.
Dec 13: The Dallas Stars looked like they were going to have four healthy NHL goaltenders, but after Ben Bishop’s comeback bid ended in further injury, that logjam seemed to be relieved. Still, the team has decided that there needs to be room for Jake Oettinger in the NHL, and has placed Anton Khudobin on waivers.
It’s a surprising fall from grace for a goaltender that just over a year ago was helping lead the Stars to the Stanley Cup Finals, appearing in 25 games for Dallas during the 2020 playoffs. Khudobin was signed to a new three-year, $10MM contract after that performance but could now find himself on the way out of town before the second season is even complete.
That $3.33MM cap hit will likely scare off plenty of teams around the league, especially because the 35-year-old netminder has an .873 save percentage in seven appearances this season. But for some–perhaps the Buffalo Sabres, who have been linked to the goaltender in trade rumors recently–Khudobin’s long history of success could be enough to swallow the rest of his contract. After all, this is a veteran that has a .916 save percentage in 257 career appearances. In fact, this is the first time in his career that Khudobin has posted a save percentage under .900 or a goals-against average over 2.72, a career that spans 13 years.
There’s also a chance that clearing waivers would improve Khudobin’s trade value for the Stars, as any acquiring team would then have the ability to stash him in the minor leagues. Of course, that only buries $1.125MM of his cap hit and the fact that he’s still signed for next season makes it more difficult for contenders.
If it’s the end of his run in Dallas, it’ll go down as his most impressive stop so far. Whether he can replicate it elsewhere still remains to be seen.