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Possible trade options for NHL teams seeking goalies

Possible trade options for NHL teams seeking goalies
Debora Robinson/Getty Images

Before the 2022 NHL Draft happened, the NHL free agent goalie market looked like a bit of a ghost town. After Ville Husso and Marc-Andre Fleury got snatched up, it might look like Darcy Kuemper, Jack Campbell, and tumbleweeds.

(OK, that’s an exaggeration; apologies to Braden Holtby and others.)

Also, there’s a chance that Maple Leafs opened up salary cap space needed to bring back Jack Campbell, anyway.

So, while teams like the Maple Leafs, Oilers, Capitals, Devils, and others may end up having a demand for goalies, the free agent market presents limited supplies.

With that in mind, would NHL teams in need of goalies be better off seeking trades instead of free agent signings? After all, that’s what the Avalanche did last offseason when they traded for Darcy Kuemper after losing Philipp Grubauer.

Maple Leafs, Oilers, Wild among those saying different things about goalie trade possibilities

First things first, this post revolves around possible NHL goalie trade targets. That doesn’t mean these goalies are actually available.

Just ask Wild GM Bill Guerin. Advice: if you ask him on TV, you make sure there’s a sufficient delay to bleep out profanities.

Of course, we’ve seen GMs deny interest in trading players, only to quickly do just that. And Guerin’s potty-mouthed vitriol might be more about feeling cornered than totally dismissing the notion of a Cam Talbot trade.

So, the message is straightforward. Take each mention in this post with a grain of salt. Maybe they’re not on the market at all. In the case of the Sharks, they might be playing coy. But GMs such as Kyle Dubas indicate that several teams approached the Maple Leafs about a goalie trade, and they’re at least considering that route.

Let’s roll through some of the most interesting possible NHL goalie trade targets. If you feel that a netminder is missing, feel free to weigh in with a comment.

Pros and cons of potential NHL goalie trade targets

High-risk, high-reward with John Gibson?

For the most part, potential NHL trade targets revolve around goalies who are on short-term deals. Most only have one year left on their contracts.

There’s a push and pull with such investments.

For one thing, even if they “solve” your problem, it could only be a short-term fix. Some may view parting with picks and/or prospects for a goalie as a poor use of resources. On the plus side, goalies are unpredictable, and you limit your risks if that netminder ends up being a bad fit.

[The goalie carousel keeps spinning]

Anaheim Ducks goalie John Gibson is the bold exception. The 28-year-old is locked down for the sort of term and price that Darcy Kuemper might command: five years left (through 2026-27) and a $6.4M cap hit.

Not that long ago, John Gibson looked like a steal at $6.4M. Although, even around his peak, some doubted him, claiming that he didn’t “work on his craft” and was just collecting a pay check(!).

Possible trade options for NHL teams seeking goalies John Gibson
(Photo by Eliot J. Schechter/NHLI via Getty Images)

If a team decides to trade for John Gibson, they’re likely expecting the John Gibson from a few years ago, who was among the NHL’s best. Lately, his numbers land closer to average.

For years, the Ducks defense ranked from below-average (last season) to flat-out bad (basically since 2017-18). A team who believes in John Gibson would make a trade hoping that he regains his elite status with better support.

It’s not an outrageous assumption to make. Yet, if a team makes a Gibson trade and is wrong, they’re not just out whatever that move cost in picks/prospects/players. That team also is on the hook for a pricey investment for five seasons.

If nothing else, John Gibson is the most interesting option in the possible NHL goalie trade market. In my opinion, he’s deserving of his own section.

Potential goalie trade category “that’s a lot to spend on a backup/platoon option”

Again, some of these goalies truly may not be on the trade market. Bill Guerin was profane about Cam Talbot trade talk, or at least agent meddling. Islanders GM Lou Lamoriello indicated that he may keep Semyon Varlamov, even with Ilya Sorokin emerging as a stealth Vezina candidate in 2021-22.

Still, with each of these options, there’s a natural refrain. “Gee, that’s a lot of money to spend on a backup/platoon option.”

Semyon Varlamov

Varlamov, 34, carries a $5M cap hit that expires after 2022-23. He has a 16-team no-trade list. For much of his career, Varlamov’s put up steady numbers, with a few elite spikes and a few downturns.

During his time with the Avalanche, Varlamov was accused of abusive behavior.

Cam Talbot

Plenty of teams could talk themselves into spending $3.6667M for a 1B goalie, especially since Cam Talbot costs slightly more than Marc-Andre Fleury ($3.5M). Yet, with the Zach Parise + Ryan Suter buyouts starting to swell in price, the Wild need to make every dollar count.

Bill Guerin can bleep away at such talk, but it might make more sense to seek a cheaper backup, and get something for Talbot. Maybe he can even snag a cheap, quality NHL roster player instead of (or in addition to) a pick/prospect?

After serving as an excellent Rangers backup, Talbot enjoyed a strong start and the sharp decline as an Oilers starter. Since joining the Wild, he’s mostly been solid, though not exactly eye-popping behind a stingy Minny defense.

Generally, Talbot ranks among quite a few potential NHL goalie trade targets in seeming steady, if unspectacular. If you really believe in your team, relative reliability could be very appealing. For the most part, Cam Talbot brings that.

Possible trade options for NHL teams seeking goalies Petersen Quick Kings
(Photo by Ric Tapia/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Kings goalies Jonathan Quick and Cal Petersen

Yes, the Kings are either out of their rebuild, or in its final stages. But it’s still fair to ask if the Kings really want to spend a combined $10.8M on Jonathan Quick and Cal Petersen next season.

Quick, 36, is the easiest to move from a transaction standpoint, but possibly challenging from a PR perspective. After all, this is the goalie who won two Stanley Cups with the Kings. Some Kings fans will grumble with a Quick trade, even if he wasn’t better than everyone else’s goalie for the duration of his lengthy contract.

As the 2021-22 season went along, Quick regained the Kings’ starting goalie job from Cal Petersen. Theoretically, the Kings could “sell high” on the veteran goalie. Look at Quick’s numbers and you’ll see that he struggled mightily from 2018-19 to 2020-21 before last season’s solid resurgence.

If the Kings feel antsy, maybe they’d seek a Cal Petersen trade? The 27-year-old carries a $5M cap hit for three more seasons (2024-25). While Quick lacks trade protection, Petersen carries a 10-team no-trade list.

It’s tough to imagine anyone knocking down Rob Blake’s door to trade for Petersen, who’s mostly been steady and isn’t exactly cheap. Los Angeles may opt for that expensive tandem, or may not have much of a choice. The duo’s at least worth mentioning because of that pricey $10.8M combined cost, though.

Other noteworthy possible NHL goalie trade targets

Possible trade options for NHL teams seeking goalies Jake Allen
(Photo by Rich Graessle/NHLI via Getty Images)

Jake Allen

During his first season with the Canadiens, Jake Allen (at least technically) registered as a “that’s a lot of money for a backup” candidate. Ultimately, Allen ended up playing more regular-season games than Carey Price in each of the past two seasons.

Granted, Allen being able to play more often doesn’t mean he’s been playing at a high level.

Through two seasons, Allen’s numbers have been meek in Montreal: 20-32-9 record, .906 save percentage, -3.2 Goals Saved “Above” Average. The 31-year-old generated one truly fantastic season in 2019-20, when he sported a .927 save percentage with the Blues. Other than that, he’s been respectable (.911 career save percentage, -4.2 career GSAA).

If a team targeted Jake Allen in a trade, it would likely boil down to the taste of a front office member, possibly a goalie coach. It’s worth noting that the Canadiens are in an experimental rebuild mode, so maybe it would be easier to trade for Jake Allen than some of these other options.

What if the Habs retained half or portion of his $2.8M cap hit? If Allen goes from slightly overpriced to a budget option, he’d become more interesting.

James Reimer or Kaapo Kähkönen from the Sharks?

It’s fitting that both James Reimer and Antti Raanta have played for the Hurricanes. Both goalies have mixed good (sometimes great) results with bad luck, often related to injuries.

During a 2021-22 Sharks season where almost everything was on fire, James Reimer took away many of San Jose’s reliable goalie excuses. An already-solid .911 save percentage only tells some of the story of Reimer’s sneaky-good season. Consider this heat chart from Hockey Viz, and his 5.9 GSAA (by Hockey Reference’s metric).

Sure, Reimer isn’t perfect, but few goalies check every box. He’s been reliable, and sometimes very good, and the 34-year-old carries a cheap $2.25M cap hit.

He’s also on a Sharks team with a congested goalie situation, one that could give you other options. While Adin Hill doesn’t inspire excitement (although all it takes is one front office to be interested), Kaapo Kähkönen is another interesting Sharks goalie possibility.

Yes, it would be a bit odd if the Sharks traded Kähkönen after acquiring him from the Wild at the trade deadline in March. Still, note that Mike Grier was not Sharks GM when they traded for Kaapo Kähkönen. He might not be as interested in the 25-year-old as others, or the pending RFA’s price tag might not fall in line with Grier’s preferences.

Whereas most of these NHL trade target possibilities revolve around older goalies who present short-term solutions, a team could conceivably find a longer-term fit in Kaapo Kähkönen. He’s even younger than John Gibson, and may end up carrying a cheap “prove it” cap hit. (Or, a team might bet big on his potential with term, hoping he exceeds whatever dollar amount he gains.)

Final thoughts about potential NHL goalie trade targets

Just about any NHL team looking for a goalie via a trade should at least have The John Gibson Conversation. His talent and past achievements warrant discussion. Especially since he’s still in his prime range at 28.

Again, though, that’s a risk. If you’re wrong, the price is steep.

For teams that are more risk-averse (or simply lacking in salary cap space and/or assets to trade), a James Reimer-type option is intriguing. The same goes for Kaapo Kähkönen, if your staff believes in the goalie both in the present and the future.

Considering how shallow the NHL free agent goalie market looks, trades honestly seem like the wiser option. Maybe you’re sorting through “lesser evils,” but with goalies, it might just be best to contain your risks … then hope for the best.

NHL Push for the Playoffs: Goalie injuries make things more unpredictable

NHL Push for the Playoffs: Goalie injuries make things even more unpredictable
Gregg Forwerck/NHLI via Getty Images

Push for the Playoffs will run every morning through the end of the 2021-22 NHL season. We’ll highlight the current playoff picture in both conferences, take a look at what the first-round matchups might look like, see who’s leading the race for the best odds in the draft lottery and more.

As much as people hope that the Stanley Cup Playoffs definitively decide the true best team in the NHL this season, the truth is that it’s an imperfect measure. Part of that boils down to random hot streaks and lucky bounces. There’s also the undeniable luck factor involved in who gets injured and who stays healthy.

That said, there are times when you can mitigate risks. Considering that every East team has a spot clinched (with only positioning to fight for), and the West is moving closer to that reality, quite a few teams have the opportunity to rest players.

Some advice, then. If you’re not going to rest players this week, at least consider doing so with your goalies, and we’ve already seen what could be some potentially brutal injuries that spill into the playoffs.

  • The Penguins have been teetering lately (4-5-1 in their last 10 games), and as strange as it may seem to read this a year after a rough postseason for the goalie, it doesn’t help to be without Tristan Jarry.
  • With all that’s going right for the Maple Leafs, they have one fewer safety net with Petr Mrazek injured. Jack Campbell‘s been banged-up too, and not that long ago.
  • Could the Hurricanes suddenly be in the shakiest goalie situation of them all? Not long after losing Frederik Andersen, Antti Raanta left Sunday’s game with an injury. Suddenly, this is a scary mess:

  • If the Stars make it, will Braden Holtby an option? Seems dicey. Sure, in 2022, Holtby isn’t the same elite goalie any longer. Dallas would probably prefer the option to lean on a veteran if needed, though.
  • If the Golden Knights reach the playoffs, it’s hard to believe Robin Lehner will be healthy. Laurent Brossoit‘s been hurt for a while, too. Tough situation for Logan Thompson and the rest of the Golden Knights.

To be clear, injuries to other positions matter, as well. The Capitals are currently crossing their fingers about Alex Ovechkin.

Still, goalie injuries are simply harder to shrug off with a “next one up” mentality. There aren’t as many of them, and the drop-off from NHL-level goalies and fringe ones can sometimes be drastic. You can’t hide them in the lineup like you would a fourth-line winger.

Now, it’s possible some of these goalies will be available for the playoffs, and that these are minor injuries. But maybe these recent developments should scare some sense into any team with the luxury to rest netminders and other key players.

After all, does a higher playoff seed matter much if goalie injuries make you easier to beat, whether you’re at home or on the road?

IF PLAYOFFS STARTED TODAY (sorted by points percentage)

Panthers vs. Capitals
Maple Leafs vs. Lightning

Hurricanes vs. Bruins
Rangers vs. Penguins

Avalanche vs. Stars
Wild vs. Blues

Flames vs. Predators
Oilers vs. Kings


None, unless you’re really into the draft lottery and want to watch Flyers vs. Blackhawks.


Panthers – clinched No. 1 seed in Eastern Conference
Maple Leafs – clinched
Lightning – clinched
Bruins – clinched
Red Wings – eliminated
Sabres – eliminated
Senators – eliminated
Canadiens – eliminated


Hurricanes – clinched
Rangers – clinched
Penguins – clinched
Capitals – clinched
Islanders – eliminated
Blue Jackets – eliminated
Flyers – eliminated
Devils – eliminated


Avalanche – clinched No. 1 seed in Western Conference
Wild – clinched
Blues – clinched
Predators – 98.2%
Stars – 87%
Jets – eliminated
Blackhawks – eliminated
Coyotes – eliminated


Flames – clinched Pacific Division
Oilers – clinched
Kings – 99.5%
Golden Knights – 15.3%
Canucks – 0.1%
Ducks – eliminated
Sharks – eliminated
Kraken – eliminated

draft lottery
Getty Images


18.5% – Canadiens
13.5% – Coyotes
11.5% – Kraken
9.5% – Flyers
8.5% – Devils
7.5% – Blackhawks (*conditional)
6.5% – Senators
6.0% – Red Wings
5.0% – Sabres
3.5% – Ducks
3.0% – Sharks
2.5% – Blue Jackets
2.0% – Islanders
1.5% – Jets
0.5% – Canucks
0.5% – Golden Knights (*conditional)

“Beginning this season there will be a limit on the total number of selections (10) a team participating in the lottery can move up in the event it wins one of the lottery draws, a change announced by the NHL on March 23, 2021. Only the top 11 seeds will be eligible to receive the No. 1 selection in the 2022 draft.”

The 2022 NHL Draft Lottery drawing will be held May 10


Connor McDavid, Oilers – 118 points
Jonathan Huberdeau, Panthers – 115
Johnny Gaudreau, Flames – 111
Leon Draisaitl, Oilers – 108
Auston Matthews, Maple Leafs – 104
Kirill Kaprizov, Wild – 103
Matthew Tkachuk, Flames -101


Auston Matthews, Maple Leafs – 58 goals
Leon Draisaitl, Oilers – 55
Chris Kreider, Rangers – 51
Alex Ovechkin, Capitals – 50
Kirill Kaprizov, Wild – 45
Kyle Connor, Jets – 45
Connor McDavid, Oilers – 43
Matt Duchene, Predators – 41

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.

Playoff goalie confidence rankings: Lightning, Maple Leafs at opposite ends

NHL goalie ranking
Gerry Thomas/NHLI via Getty Images

There is no more impactful position in the postseason — or at any point of the NHL season — than goalie.

It will make or break your team, it can swing a series, and if you get great play at the position you are going to have a chance to win it all. If you get bad play at the position, your postseason trip will probably be disappointing no matter how good the rest of your team is.

With the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs just around the corner we wanted to take a look at each potential playoff team (teams that still have a strong chance to make it; so Winnipeg and Vancouver? Not included) and how they should feel about their goaltending situation as the playoffs approach.

So confident they should be arrogant about it

Tampa Bay Lightning. Andrei Vasilevskiy‘s overall numbers this season are not quite on the same level as they have been in the past, but he is still the best goalie in the world and a proven superstar. Especially come playoff time. He has played every minute of their past two championship runs with a .932 save percentages in those 48 games. The Lightning always have a chance with him, and at any moment he can become a dominant game changer that just takes over a series. They are in a class all their own here at this position because of Vasilevskiy.

Extremely high confidence and no real concern

New York Rangers. Igor Shesterkin does not have quite the lengthy resume that Vasilevskiy has, and his play has dipped a bit over the past two weeks, so that puts the Rangers at the very top of this tier instead of the absolute top tier. This is the most hockey Shesterkin has played in a season and there might be some concern that he could run out of steam in the middle of a playoff run. But he has been the Rangers’ most important player this season and is not only a Vezina Trophy front runner, he is also a legitimate MVP contender.

Carolina Hurricanes. Frederik Andersen has been everything the Hurricanes could have hoped for him to be this season and more. What makes their situation especially strong is they have a very, very good backup in Antti Raanta. Neither player is a superstar, but they are both excellent.

Nashville Predators. Saros has been one of the NHL’s best performing goalies for three years now and is an excellent last line of defense behind a surprisingly good Western Conference playoff team. He almost single handedly dragged the Predators to a playoff spot a year ago and has been just as good this season (with a little better support around him).

Calgary Flames. The Flames paid a huge price to get Jacob Markstrom in free agency a year ago and he is rewarding them for their investment. Markstrom has a .924 save percentage this season and a league-best nine shutouts. Calgary plays a great defensive game under coach Darryl Sutter, has balanced out its forward lineup, and has a top-tier goalie this year.

Very confident

Colorado Avalanche. The Avalanche have arguably the NHL’s best defense (almost all of them impact players) and a loaded lineup that can dominate any opponent on any given night. They do not necessarily need a goalie that can steal them a lot of games. They need a goalie that will not lose them games. That is Darcy Kuemper, and just as an added bonus for them he is also capable of stealing a game when needed. Pavel Francouz is a strong backup as well.

Minnesota Wild. Cam Talbot is a perfectly acceptable NHL starting goalie, but Marc-Andre Fleury is the wild card here. He struggled in Chicago, but what goalie would not struggle behind that mess? He is still capable of being an impact player and is off to a very strong start with the Wild. Between the two of them they should be plenty good enough at this position to make some noise in the playoffs. The playoff meltdowns of years past are in his rear view mirror as he has a .922 save percentage in his past 62 playoff games dating back to the 2016-17 playoffs.

[NHL Power Rankings: Bruins, Wild peaking at right time]

Their goalie has something to prove

Pittsburgh Penguins. Tristan Jarry had a nightmare postseason a year ago, a performance that played a significant role in the Penguins’ first round exit at the hands of the New York Islanders. He has bounced back in a big way this season and has been one of the better goalies in the league. But until he does it in the playoffs there is going to be that question mark looming over him. Very good season, but still mostly unproven.

St. Louis Blues. The Blues are probably having some second thoughts about that Jordan Binnington contract extension. After back-to-back playoff meltdowns Binnington has come back this season and had his worst season as a pro, currently owning a .899 save percentage on the season. The good news for the Blues is Ville Husso has stepped in to save the day. He has had a great year but he has very little NHL track record to base any projection on.

Boston Bruins. With Tuukka Rask retired Bruins fans are going to have to find a new scapegoat this season. His absence has been filled by the duo of Linus Ullmark and Jeremy Swayman. They have been …. fine? Not liabilities. Not game-changers. Just …. fine. Swayman has been the better of the two overall this season but he has struggled since the beginning of March. The Bruins are a great defensive team with some impact players at forward so there is a lot of potential here. They just need the goaltending to be good.

Dallas Stars. The Stars opened the season with four NHL caliber goalies on their roster, and it has been a journey just keeping one of them healthy and in the lineup. Jake Oettinger has emerged as the starter, but he falls under the same category as Jarry, Husso, and Swayman. Fine performance, but not enough of a track record to really be 100% confident with what he is going to do in the playoffs. Assuming the Stars get there.

nhl goalie ranking
Eliot J. Schechter/NHLI via Getty Images

This is a cause for concern

Florida Panthers. Okay now things start to get really interesting. The Panthers have the best offense in the NHL by a mile. When Aaron Ekblad is healthy they have a very formidable defense. This has been the best full season in Panthers franchise history and there is every reason for fans to believe they have a team that can win it all. The only thing that can disrupt that is goaltending. And guess what just so happens to be a cause for alarm as the playoffs approach: goaltending. Sergei Bobrovsky had a wonderful start to the season, but he has fallen off significantly in the second half and some of his previous playoff performances leave something to be desired. Spencer Knight is the future of the position in Florida, but he has not had the rookie season the Panthers may have hoped for. Since the start of February their team all situations save percentage of .894 is one of the worst in the NHL. This is a potential problem.

Los Angeles Kings. Jonathan Quick is a two-time Cup winner and has some of the NHL’s best single season playoff runs on his resume. But he has not been that goalie for a few years now. As a duo, he and Calvin Petersen have been pretty average this season, and that has been good enough for a quickly improving Kings team that has exceeded expectations.

Vegas Golden Knights. The concern here is that Robin Lehner has not consistently been healthy this season, and when he has been on the ice his play has regressed from the past few years. If he is healthy and playing like we have seen in the past, they should be fine. But they have no Plan B like they did in recent years.

No confidence at all. This is a problem position.

Toronto Maple Leafs. The offense is great. Defensively they are probably better than their critics want to admit. But that goaltending is a real problem and the obvious weakness here. Jack Campbell has been awful since the start of December, as his .890 save percentage since Dec. 1 is 34th out of the 37 goalies that have appeared in at least 20 games since then (ahead of only Ilya Samsonov and Philip Grubauer). Petr Mrazek has struggled pretty consistently all season. This is going to be a problem.

Washington Capitals. The Capitals have two options in Samsonov and Vitek Vanecek, neither of which has done anything to secure the starting job. Washington was unable to add a goalie upgrade before the trade deadline and seemed to be happy with Vanecek’s play. But that has tailed off in recent weeks and now the Capitals are set to enter the playoffs with no good (or proven) option.

[Related: Capitals goaltending situation could be big problem]

Edmonton Oilers. They stuck with the same goalie duo that was not good enough a year ago. They have the worst team save percentage of any playoff team, and teams with this level of goaltending typically do not win. The best option here might actually be Stuart Skinner, and not Mike Smith or Mikko Koskinen.

Improved overtime success playing huge role in Stars’ playoff push

Dallas Stars overtime
Glenn James, Getty Images

If the Dallas Stars end up returning to the Stanley Cup Playoffs this season (and they are in a good position to do so) they have a massive swing in their overtime fortunes to thank for it.

During the 2020-21 season they fell four points short of the playoffs in the NHL’s reconfigured Central Division, and there were two main reasons for it. And they were somewhat related.

The first is that they played almost the entire season without Tyler Seguin and Alexander Radulov, two players they were counting on to be among their top offensive players. That is a lot of skill to take out of the lineup, especially in overtime and shootout games where skill ultimately takes over.

The second is that they were one of the worst teams in the league in games decided beyond regulation, going 6-14 in overtime and shootouts. That includes an 0-5 record against the Nashville Predators, the team that finished just four points ahead of them for that fourth playoff spot in the division.

It has been the complete opposite story for the Stars this season, as they enter Tuesday’s game against the Anaheim Ducks with a 13-3 record in games decided beyond regulation. That is a massive swing, going from one of the league’s worst teams in those games to one of the best.

The Stars are one point behind the Vegas Golden Knights for the second Wild Card spot as of Tuesday, but still have four games in hand. Their current pace has them on track for 96 points this season. Vegas is on a 91-point pace while the two teams only have one head-to-head meeting remaining. You have to like Dallas’ chances right now.

So what has changed for the Stars in overtime this season to dramatically swing their season to the other side of the playoff bubble?

Aside from the fact that there is an element of luck to 3-on-3 situations and shootout, there are a couple of things that do stand out.

[Related: NHL Power Rankings: Competition for Avalanche in West; Bruins keep climbing]

The first is improved goaltending in both the overtime period and shootouts. The Stars goalies this season (a quartet of Jake Oettinger, Braden Holtby, Anton Khudobin, and the recently acquired Scott Wedgewood) have been dramatically better than Oettinger and Khudobin were in both situations a year ago. Holtby is obviously a new addition to the roster versus a year ago. Goaltending is always a pretty significant game-changer in any situation.

So far this season Stars goalies have the second-best 3-on-3 save percentage in the NHL at .971.

A year ago they were 14th at .861.

Noticeable improvement.

But there is another noticeable change in their overtime situations that is playing a major role in their success. It is the ability to actually use their best players in overtime. And, perhaps just as importantly, actually taking advantage of the opportunity to use them.

First, take a look at the eight Stars players with the most overtime ice-time a year ago (in order of highest to lowest): Miro Heiskanen, John Klingberg, Jamie Benn, Esa Lindell, Jason Dickinson, Joe Pavelski, Radek Faska, Jason Robertson.

Now compare that list to the eight players with the most overtime ice-time this season (again in order of highest to lowest): Roope Hintz, John Klingberg, Miro Heiskanen, Tyler Seguin, Jamie Benn, Jason Robertson, Joe Pavelski, Esa Lindell.

Pay extra special attention to the first five or six players in each group. That is a pretty dramatic swing. Three of the Stars’ top-five players in overtime ice-time a year ago were defenseman, including one (Lindell) that is not really known for offense. The top-two forwards a year ago were Jamie Benn, whose offense has rapidly declined, and Jason Dickinson, a player that has never topped 10 goals in a season.

Not ideal!

Hintz and Seguin both had their availability last year limited by injury (Seguin played in just two games; Hintz missed 15 games), while Robertson simply was not a player the Stars leaned on, playing just 58 seconds per overtime game. This season he is seeing an extra 30 seconds of ice time per overtime. Better goaltending extending games plays a factor in that, sure, but there is also a clear usage change and getting an opportunity to use players like Hintz, Seguin, and Robertson more in those situations is also going to extend games.

So far this season Seguin has already contributed to two overtime goals, scoring one and assisting on another, while Hintz has contributed to four (scoring one and assisting on three).

Remember, those two guys did not even crack the top-eight in terms of Stars’ overtime ice-time a year ago because of injuries. Hintz was sidelined for eight of the Stars’ 20 overtime games a year ago, with the Stars winning just one of those games. Seguin missed 19 of them. That does not even get into Robertson’s usage as he was behind Jason Dickinson on the Stars’ overtime ice-time listing. Robertson has two overtime goals this season and an overtime assist.

The Stars are right on the playoff bubble for the second year in a row, and every possible point is going to make a difference. A year ago they did not get those extra points in overtime.

This year they are. It might be enough to get them that Wild Card spot.

Khudobin has hip surgery; Stars likely to hold on to Holtby

stars khudobin
Mark LoMoglio/NHLI via Getty Images

Dallas Stars goaltender Anton Khudobin is expected to miss six months after having hip surgery, a move that almost certainly means Braden Holtby will remain with the team rather than getting moved before the trade deadline.

The 35-year-old Khudobin underwent arthroscopic surgery and had the labrum repaired in his right hip, general manager Jim Nill said Tuesday, a day after the procedure was done in New York.

Khudobin had not played in the NHL since mid-January and at all since Jan. 29. He has split time this season with Dallas and their top affiliate, the Texas Stars of the American Hockey League.

With Dallas among a handful of teams fighting to make the playoffs in the competitive Western Conference, Holtby — who did not dress in the Stars’ most recent game because of a lower-body injury — is a valuable presence even after young Jake Oettinger emerged as the starter. Holtby, who won the Vezina Trophy as the league’s top goalie in 2016 and backstopped the Washington Capitals to the Stanley Cup in 2018, is under contract for the rest of this season.

Khudobin has one more year left on his deal at a salary-cap hit of $3.33 million. After stashing him in the minors for part of this season, Dallas could put him on long-term injured reserve if Khudobin’s recovery from a difficult surgery for goalies takes longer than anticipated.

The Stars now look smart for going into this season with extra goalies. Longtime starter Ben Bishop gave up on his comeback from nagging knee injuries in December, and he’s expected to spend 2022-23 on LTIR.

After leading the league in save percentage while sharing the net with Bishop during the 2019-20 season that was cut short by the pandemic, Khudobin took over as the starter in the playoffs contested that summer in quarantined bubbles. He led Dallas on an improbable run to the Stanley Cup Final, making a postseason-high 744 saves and earning a $10 million, three-year contract.

Khudobin has since been unable to recapture that magic, so the Stars put him on waivers in mid-December and handed the responsibilities to Holtby and Oettinger as they try to grab a playoff spot.

Two teams ahead of Dallas in the standings made a trade Tuesday, with Western Conference-leading Colorado acquiring Nico Sturm from Central Division-rival Minnesota for Tyson Jost in a one-for-one swap of forwards. The move clears $1.275 million in cap space for the Avalanche, who on Monday dealt a draft pick and a top prospect to Anaheim for pending free agent defenseman Josh Manson.

The trade deadline is 3 p.m. EDT Monday.