Five questions facing Dallas Stars

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NHL.com is examining where each team stands in preparation for the 2021-22 regular season, which starts Oct. 12. Today, five questions facing the Dallas Stars:

 

1. How will the goalie situation work?

Heading into training camp, the Stars could have four healthy goalies on the roster. Anton Khudobin and Jake Oettinger split time last season; Khudobin was 12-11-7 with a 2.54 goals-against average, a .905 save percentage and three shutouts in 32 games (all starts), and Oettinger was 11-8-0 with a 2.36 GAA, a .911 save percentage and one shutout in 29 games (24 starts) in his first NHL season. Khudobin is 111-87-32 with a 2.47 GAA, a .917 save percentage and 11 shutouts in 250 regular-season NHL games (230 starts).

Braden Holtby signed a one-year contract July 28, the day the Vancouver Canucks bought out the final season of his two-year contract. He was 7-11-3 with a 3.67 GAA and an .889 save percentage in 21 games (all starts) last season with the Canucks. Holtby, who won the Stanley Cup with the Washington Capitals in 2018, is 289-133-49 with a 2.58 GAA, a .915 save percentage and 35 shutouts in 489 regular-season NHL games (479 starts).

Ben Bishop likely will be healthy after missing last season because of knee surgery. A three-time finalist in voting for the Vezina Trophy, awarded to the best goalie in the NHL, Bishop was 21-16-4 with a 2.50 GAA, a .920 save percentage and two shutouts in 44 games (43 starts) in 2019-20, when the Stars reached the Stanley Cup Final. Bishop is 222-128-36 with a 2.50 GAA, a .920 save percentage and 33 shutouts in 413 regular-season NHL games (397 starts).

 

2. How effective will Ryan Suter be?

The defenseman signed a four-year contract with the Stars on July 28 after he had the final four seasons of his 13-year contract bought out by the Minnesota Wild on July 13. Suter scored 19 points (three goals, 16 assists) in 56 regular-season games last season, averaging 22:11 of ice time per game.

The 36-year-old’s ice time has declined in each of the past seven seasons. He likely won’t play as many heavy minutes as he did with Minnesota but could play on the second defense pair with Miro Heiskanen.

He scored his fewest points last season since scoring 16 (one goal, 15 assists) in 71 games as a rookie with the Nashville Predators in 2005-06, but Suter has scored 607 points (93 goals, 514 assists), including 237 power-play points (32 goals, 205 assists), in 1,198 regular-season games.

 

3. Are Tyler Seguin and Alexander Radulov fully healthy?

Seguin missed all but three games of the regular season after having hip surgery Nov. 2. In each of his first six seasons with Dallas (2013-19), the forward scored at least 26 goals and 72 points.

Radulov, who was limited to 11 games before having core muscle surgery, scored 12 points (four goals, eight assists). The forward scored at least 27 goals and 72 points in each of his first two seasons with the Stars (2017-19).

Their absence was a big reason the Stars finished 18th in the NHL in scoring last season (2.79 goals per game).

Video: TBL@DAL: Radulov nets late game-tying goal

 

4. Where will forwards Roope Hintz and Jason Robertson play?

Robertson was second on the Stars in goals (17) and points (45) in 51 games last season behind Joe Pavelski (25 goals, 51 points), and he was the runner-up to Wild forward Kirill Kaprizov in voting for the Calder Trophy as NHL rookie of the year.

Hintz was third on the Stars in goals (15) and points (43) in 41 games, scoring 10 points more than his NHL career high of 33 in 60 games in 2019-20.

Robertson and Hintz each saw time on the first line because of the injuries to Seguin and Radulov, but it is unclear which line each would play on if Dallas enters the season fully healthy at forward.

Video: DAL@CHI: Robertson sweeps up rebound for OT winner

 

5. Will the penalty kill be improved?

The Stars were one of the more disciplined teams in the NHL last season, taking 176 penalties, tied for seventh-fewest with the Pittsburgh Penguins and Winnipeg Jets. But their penalty kill ranked 19th (79.1 percent).

Dallas lost an NHL-high 14 games after regulation and had nine wins in 29 games that were decided by one goal (.310 winning percentage, 28th in NHL). Its lack of success on the penalty kill was one reason it failed to qualify for the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

The Stars are hoping the additions of forward Luke Glendening, who averaged 2:25 of shorthanded ice time per game last season for the Detroit Red Wings, and defensemen Jani Hakanpaa (2:00; Anaheim Ducks and Carolina Hurricanes) and Suter (2:00) will bolster the penalty kill.

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