In this edition of Dallas Stars’ News & Rumors, drama surrounds the future of John Klingberg, the power play continues to dominate, and Anton Khudobin is currently the odd man out in goal.
John Klingberg Trade Rumors
Even before the Stars added Ryan Suter to their lineup, Klingberg has been the center of trade rumors. With his contract coming to an end next summer, and Dallas already paying heavy amounts to Esa Lindell, Miro Heiskanen, and now Suter, it is tough to find a path that includes Klingberg returning next season. Not only does Dallas not have the money but he is due a fairly large raise after playing on an extremely affordable seven-year, $29.75 million contract. As NHL defenseman contracts continue to rise, it seems likely that Dallas would need to make significant moves to re-sign him following this season.
“When I talk about the core of our team, John is one of those members. He’s been a Dallas Star from Day One, he’s a big part of our franchise and he is a top-level defenseman in the NHL.”– Stars general manager Jim Nill
Until recently, these trade rumors were just that, rumors. However, it was reported over the weekend that the Carolina Hurricanes did in fact reach out to Dallas about the availability of Klingberg.
With the Hurricanes recently losing a few defensemen to COVID and injury, it seems like there could be a good fit for the short term. It is unknown what the Stars are looking for in return for Klingberg but it is likely going to lean more towards future players or picks rather than a current NHL player.
For the Stars, any Klingberg trade does not make much sense unless they are out of a playoff spot later in the season. This team believes they have the pieces for a deep playoff run and are unlikely to move any of those pieces until it is necessary. Still, the situation with the star defenseman is one to keep your eyes on.
Stars Power Play Continues to Strike
The Stars’ power play was among the many sore spots early in the season. However, during their recent success, it has been that same side of special teams that has led the way. Dallas has scored a power-play goal in 10 of their last 12 games, boosting them into the third-ranked unit in the league. Currently scoring on 27.8% of their chances, the power play has been a huge part of their resurgence in November.
The unique part of this equation is that the Stars truly believe they have two dangerous power-play units. When looking at all of the names available, including Heiskanen, Klingberg, Suter, Tyler Seguin, Roope Hintz, Joe Pavelski, Jason Robertson, Jamie Benn, Denis Gurianov, and Radek Faksa, it is understandable that they have been dangerous with the extra man.
“They were moving it great on both units. It was good to see Klinger get on the board on the power play, he was outstanding tonight on both sides of the puck. We’ve got two really good units.”– Stars head coach Rick Bowness
If the Stars want to continue to win games, their power play will play a huge role.
Is Khudobins’ Time in Dallas Coming To an End?
The goaltending situation in Dallas may be the only higher cause of drama than the Klingberg trade rumors. After adding veteran Braden Holtby in the offseason, the Stars have had to deal with the ups and downs of all four of their NHL-caliber goalies. Ben Bishop has not played as he continues to rehab his recent knee surgeries, Anton Khudobin has had an inconsistent season, Braden Holtby has played very well at times but also missed some games due to an injury, and youngster Jake Oettinger has stolen the show since being called up last week. Now, the Stars have consistently rolled out a combination of Oettinger and Holtby, leaving the other two goalies as the odd men out.
If Dallas believes that Oettinger is truly ready to stay in the NHL for good, they will need to move one of their veteran goalies as soon as possible. Since Khudobin has been the healthy scratch over the last few games, it seems likely that he would be the best option for a trade. Similar to Klingberg, the return for Khudobin is unknown but Dallas is likely searching for young players or draft picks more than NHL talent.
The unfortunate part of this business is that every move comes with a high level of risk. If Dallas moves Khudobin and Oettinger or Holtby get injured or see a drop-off in their game, what do the Stars do then? On top of that, the added drama of Bishops’ unknown status makes this arguably the most intriguing situation in the entire league.
The Stars finish up their home-heavy November schedule with a matchup against the Hurricanes on Tuesday night in Dallas. This will be the first time the teams have met since they shared a realigned Central division during the shortened 2020-21 season. The Stars have won four games in a row and six of their last seven as they look to continue their success tonight against a tough opponent.
Sam Nestler is a Dallas Stars contributor for the ‘The Hockey Writers’. Growing up in New Jersey, Sam has been playing hockey since he was 7 years old. Developing a love for writing in college, Sam uses his hockey knowledge to create analyses and articles on every aspect of the game. Sam also hosts his own podcast on Spotify, the “Slapshot Sammy’ podcast, breaking down action across the NHL and NCAA. Check out the podcast here, and give his latest article a read!