It’s no secret that the Dallas Stars would be interested in moving Anton Khudobin. That desire is not for lack of liking the player or enjoying the tremendous run he has had in the COVID-shortened 2019-20 and 2020-21 seasons, as well as a trip to the Cup final Stanley in the 2020 bubble. Instead, the team has just over $7 million remaining in the salary cap space and has yet to re-sign the superstar breakout winger Jason Robertson. The remaining $7m could, technically, be enough to sign Robertson, but clearing some, or ideally all, of Khudobins’ $3.33m cap would not only make it much easier to re-sign the forward. , but could allow Dallas to negotiate. this is a maximum duration agreement.
The problem for Dallas is that the Khudobin trade is easier said than done. On the one hand, finding a team interested in a goaltender who’s been injured for much of the last year and who owes a salary of $3.75 million (and a cap of $3.33 million). dollars) would be difficult. Second, even if a game is found, it would clearly be a cap-dump and Dallas is already in a tough spot with Robertson still out of camp. If Dallas wants to make this deal, they’ll have to pay market price to do so, but before we go that far, let’s take a look at their options and who Dallas might turn to.
Bury the contract
If the Stars aren’t willing to pay the price to move Khudobin, or if they really can’t find a suitor, one option would be to bury Khudobin’s contract in the minors. Under the terms of the current CBA, teams can bury a player and their hit cap in the minor leagues and recoup $1.125 million against the salary cap. In doing so, Dallas would give themselves $8.21 million of cap space with which to re-sign Robertson. That number might be just enough to seal a deal with Robertson, but with little exit from the Dallas or Robertson camps as far as specific numbers go and given recent contracts awarded to Jack Hughes, Tim Stutzle, Joshua Norris, thomas robertand Jordan Kyrouit’s not hard to believe that the $8 million AAV, whether on a long-term or short-term deal, is just the start of these negotiations.
Philadelphia Flyers: When we talk about teams that could agree to a salary cap swap, we usually think of the obvious rebuilding clubs with plenty of room, and this is no exception for Khudobin. However, some would say the Flyers aren’t in the same position, having not committed to rebuilding and without a ton of cap space. Currently, the team is just under $2.4 million over the salary cap. But, taking into account the expected LTIR relays from the front Sean Couturier and defender Ryan Ellisthey will have just over $11.6 million left available.
In goal, the Flyers will bet on a young goaltender Carter Hart to make a bulk of the starts and an apparent backup inserted with Felix Sandstrom. However, since Sandstrom was injured in yesterday’s game against the Boston Bruins, the organization may need another goalie beyond Troy Grosenick and Samuel Ersson. More impactful, however, would be Sandstrom’s ability to continue his development by making the bulk of AHL starts and allowing Khudobin to replace Hart.
Minnesota Wild: Another peculiar team on this list, the Wild have worked their way into this offseason with a glut of goaltenders and cap issues of their own, issues that necessitated the star winger trade. Kevin Fiala and guardian Cam Talbot. But, now they might be suitable for a Khudobin trade. Today, the Wild have approximately $5.74 million in cap space, enough to acquire Khudobin. The team plans to launch the legendary Marc-Andre Fleury at the net, supported by a young Philippe Gustavsson. The youngest goaltender has 27 games of NHL experience under his belt, but has struggled to some degree during that time. If the Wild want to see him continue his development in the AHL and have veteran support for Fleury, facing Khudobin might make sense. Still, the Wild had to make tough sacrifices to be compliant with the cap, namely Fiala, so leaning on Gustavsson and looking to use their cap to meet other needs might be the more prudent option.
Cap Room to give away:
More than a few teams have the option of assuming Khudobin’s contract; in fact, Robertson aside, the Stars are one of them. But, there are only a handful that not only have the space, but are able to do so.
Chicago Blackhawks: With $7.54 million in cap space available, the Blackhawks could afford to easily take on Khudobin’s contract. One problem with Chicago is that, given their rebuilding and desire to hoard draft picks, they’ll likely want to make as many cap-trades of this nature as possible. Acquiring Khudobin would bring them to just over $4.2 million in available cap space, making deals of this nature a bit more difficult, at least for this season. Move one or both Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane would free up space, but the team would likely have to keep a significant chunk of his salary.
Anaheim Ducks: With $15.75 million in ceiling space available, acquiring Khudobin would not be a problem for Anaheim. But, this Ducks team, unlike the Blackhawks above, is no longer in the deepest stages of rebuilding. Making a trade like this is always possible, but given where the Ducks are, saving as much of their cap space as possible to see if they want to buy at this year’s trade deadline might make the most sense. If the team finds that they are not in that position yet, they can still use their cap space to help other teams (for a price) at that time. The current situation of the team’s goalkeepers is also in question. Sure, John Gibson goes nowhere, and behind him, Antoine Stolarz turned out to be an incredibly strong backup. Anaheim could bury Khudobin in the AHL, but would likely like to give the vast majority of playing time there to a promising young goalie Lucas Dostalas good as Olle Eriksson Ek.
Buffalo Sabers: Like the Ducks, the Sabers are looking to turn a corner this year and take the next step, whether that’s a playoff berth or at least fighting for one. That wouldn’t necessarily mean they’re not interested in using their best cap space of $20.54 million to their advantage, but that might not be a priority. On top of that, Buffalo has an even more crowded net than Anaheim. The team plans to rely on veterans Craig Anderson and Eric Comrie in the net after giving up Malcolm Subban earlier today. Even if Subban were to be reclaimed, the development of Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen in the AHL is of great importance to Buffalo.
Given that the Coyotes are in the midst of a rebuild and ready to play at least the next two seasons at Arizona State’s Mullett Arena, their $19.47 million cap space, and their well-documented goaltending desire, a deal sending Khudobin to Arizona seems obvious. GM coyotes Bill Armstrong made it clear this offseason that he would continue to monitor the goaltending market, whether in free agency, on the waiver wire or via trade. Arizona has acted accordingly so far, signing Jon Gilliesproviding power to Christopher Gibson (who has since been released) and more recently claiming Jonas Johanson excluding exceptions. Even after claiming Johansson, Armstrong reiterated his commitment to monitoring the goaltending market.
To date, Arizona currently has Karel Vejmelka, Ivan Prosvetov, Johansson and Gillies, all under contract and with NHL experience. Adding Khudobin to the fold would make an already overcrowded situation worse, but would give the Coyotes a veteran goaltender who could mentor their less experienced players. It’s also worth noting that the Coyotes have been in this situation more than a couple of times and know what they can get for their cap help. More recently, they acquired second- and third-round draft picks and traded the 32nd overall pick in 2022 for the 29th overall pick to assume the forward contract. Zack Kassian Edmonton Oilers. Khudobin’s price is unclear, but that type of trade has already paid off for the Coyotes.