The Dallas Stars begin their season at Madison Square Garden in less than a week. Their goaltending situation remains a hot topic. General Manager Jim Nill may finally have the solution to the issues between the pipes. They now have four goaltenders that are capable of playing at the NHL level. Braden Holtby joins the team this year in relief of an injured goaltender. Ben Bishop remains injured and there is no word on his return. Here’s a look at the goaltending situation.
Both Anton Khudobin and Jake Oettinger did their best last season. The Stars finished with the 11th fewest goals against in the league. Bishop missed the entire season due to lingering injury issues. The Stars went out and got help over the offseason.
#70 Braden Holtby
Braden Holtby is coming in with lots of veteran experience. He is a winning machine, holding a career record of 289-133-49. Holtby brings much-needed relief to the Oettinger/Khudobin tandem. A 2017-2018 Stanley Cup Champion is bringing his leadership to the team. Holtby is more than capable of putting up great numbers for the Stars this season. His contract at 1-year $2 million is great for the short term.
#35 Anton Khudobin
Anton Khudobin already cemented himself in Stars folklore. His performance in the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs was phenomenal. Last season was tumultuous for him. His 12-11-7 record with a 2.54 Goals Against Average wasn’t the best. The team tried recovering from injuries because of the previous playoffs. Khudobin and Oettinger played lots of games in a short amount of time. 16 games in 30 days is enough to test even the most veteran of goalies. “Dobby” remains a fan favorite and will see plenty of playing time this season.
#30 Ben Bishop
Ben Bishop’s time over the last few years hasn’t been easy. He is still a fantastic goalie but his injuries lately are piling on. There is even speculation that he can miss this year as well. There is also a salary cap problem if he returns. He is on the LTIR (Long-Term Injured Reserve). His salary does not count against the salary cap while he is on LTIR but they can’t take him off it. They must clear up the $0 of cap space to put Bishop in the lineup, or wait until the playoffs. Regardless, Stars fans wish Bishop a speedy recovery and hate to see him hurt like this.
#29 Jake Oettinger
The Stars asked and Jake Oettinger delivered. Not a lot of goalies get their career debut in the Western Conference Final. He was perfect in the 37 minutes he played in the 2020 Playoffs, including the Stanley Cup Final. His rookie season was good as well in 2021. He did everything he could with an 11-8-7 record and 2.36 GAA. Oettinger showed that he can play in the big leagues. It’s nice to have him as an option and he is ready if needed. He will play some this season and is a #1 goaltender in the future.
Nill is not taking any chances this season with the goaltending situation. The Texas Stars have Colton Point and Adam Scheel as their tandem. Oettinger may also see time in Cedar Park. It’s the waiting game now with Bishop but the Stars are ready with options in his absence. The injuries last season were colossal and they have stability between the pipes now.
The Stars’ season starts on Thursday, October 14, @ the New York Rangers.
Photo Credit: Dallas Stars Twitter