March 15: The team has now officially announced the surgery, which was a right hip arthroscopy and labral repair. It took place yesterday and Khudobin was given a six-month recovery timeline.
March 14: Veteran goaltender Anton Khudobin last played in a competitive game on January 29, when he suited up for the Texas Stars. He was brought up to the NHL a few days later under emergency conditions but hasn’t played since being returned to the minor leagues the next night. Saad Yousuf of The Athletic wrote today that an update on Khudobin was expected in the next few days, but his colleague Pierre LeBrun may have beaten the team to it. LeBrun tweets that Khudobin is undergoing hip surgery today, with an official update coming tomorrow.
If it is a surgery that ends Khudobin’s season, the Dallas Stars have suddenly gone from an organization overflowing in NHL-caliber netminders to one that could have a lack of depth at the position. Braden Holtby is now dealing with a lower-body injury, forcing the team to recall 22-year-old undrafted free agent signing Adam Scheel to backup starter Jake Oettinger. Scheel has never played in the NHL and has split this season between the AHL and ECHL.
With Khudobin out of the picture, LeBrun suggests that Holtby–even when healthy–might end up off the trade market as the Stars continue to fight for the playoffs. The team is just one point behind the Vegas Golden Knights for the second wild card spot, but have played four fewer games than them to this point. Moving Holtby would leave the team in a very vulnerable position, putting the entire postseason hopes on Oettinger (albeit capable) shoulders.
For Khudobin specifically, one has to wonder whether hip surgery will spell the end of his playing career. The 35-year-old netminder has one season left on the three-year contract extension he signed in 2020 and carries a $3.3MM cap hit, but had been pushed mostly to the minor leagues this season. In nine appearances with Dallas he has posted an .879 save percentage and now likely faces a long rehab. The Stars already went through a situation like this with Ben Bishop this season, with the veteran trying to work his way back only to end up calling it a career following one appearance in the minor leagues. Hopefully, Khudobin doesn’t suffer the same fate, but it’s hard to see a way that he makes another considerable impact for the Stars moving forward.