The Dallas Stars have opened training camp without goaltender Anton Khudobin. The 34-year-old is facing an immigration issue. This comes on top of Ben Bishop‘s lingering injury woes. Elliotte Friedman broke the Khudobin news Monday morning.
Stars Anton Khudobin to Miss Start of Camp
Khudobin was outstanding in 2019-20. He posted a .930 save percentage and 2.22 goals-against-average while starting 26 games behind Bishop. Those save figures were the best of any season in which the Russian started at least four games. Khudobin also anchored the Stars during their run to the Stanley Cup Finals. He started 24 of the team’s 27 games with a .917 save percentage and 2.69 goals-against-average. He was one of the main reasons Dallas got as far as it did. Considering their relative lack of offence going into the postseason.
The Minnesota Wild originally drafted Khudobin in the seventh round of the 2004 Draft, but he didn’t debut until 2009-10 for two games. His first significant action didn’t come until 20012-13 with the Boston Bruins. He started 14 games that year behind Tuuka Rask with nine wins, a .920 save percentage and 2.32 goals-against-average. Overall, Khudobin has been one of the most productive goalies in the league despite bouncing between five different franchises in 11 seasons. His career save percentage of .919 and 2.46 goals-against rank among the best from his draft class. Only Cory Schneider and Pekka Rinne can challenge Khudobin as the most consistent goalie from 2004.
What This Absence Means for Dallas
Any extended absence from Khudobin could be devastating for the Stars in 2020-21. They are left with Jake Oettinger and Landon Bow as their primary goalie duo without Khudobin and Bishop. That isn’t a bad duo in the future, but they have just two games of NHL experience between them. That lack of reliability in the net is not what the team wants in a 56-game sprint.
Veteran Joe Pavelski is also day-to-day at this time pending medical results. He only scored 14 goals and 31 points in 67 games last year, but he is one of the team’s strongest leaders both on and off the ice. Dallas fans will desperately want their established players back as quickly as possible.
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