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Dallas Stars Must Address Their Crowded Crease Situation

With the addition of Braden Holtby, Dallas' crease situation is looking a bit busy. Some changes might be on the horizon for the Stars.
Anton Khudobin

The Dallas Stars raised some eyebrows last week by signing Braden Holtby to a one-year, $2-million contract. He joins Ben Bishop, Anton Khudobin and Jake Oettinger in what's become a crowded crease in the Lone Star State, raising questions over who becomes their No. 1 goaltender.

Bishop could remain sidelined by the knee surgery that put him on the shelf for the entirety of last season. If so, it was assumed the Stars would stick with the tandem of Khubodin and Oettinger. Adding Holtby could lead to Khudobin becoming a trade candidate or Oettinger returning to the minors given his waiver-exempt status this season.

General manager Jim Nill downplayed the issue, telling Matthew DeFranks of the Dallas Morning News he expects his goalies to battle for the top job and they'll make decisions from there. He also sang Khudobin's praises, reminding everyone the 35-year-old backstopped the Stars to the 2020 Stanley Cup Final.

If Bishop can't play, Nill could stick with Khubodin and Holtby and send Oettinger down to the farm. If the 23-year-old Oettinger seizes the starter's job, however, Khudobin could hit the trade block due to his $3.33-million annual cap hit.

Sportsnet's Jeff Marek and Elliotte Friedman recently suggested Khudobin could end up with the Edmonton Oilers on opening night. However, the Edmonton Journal's David Staples pointed out the Oilers would have to find a taker for backup Mikko Koskinen and his $4.5-million cap hit. He also wondered if the Oilers would be on Khudobin's four-team no-trade list.

The Arizona Coyotes could use a reliable netminder after trading Darcy Kuemper to Colorado. The Pittsburgh Penguins are another possibility if they still harbor concerns about Tristan Jarry before the start of the season. 

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