Stars plan on Bishop returning next season

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Ben Bishop has not been asked to waive his no-move clause prior to the 2021 NHL Expansion Draft, Dallas Stars general manager Jim Nill said.

“When Ben is healthy, he’s one of the top three-to-five goalies in the League,” Nill said Friday. “He’s a guy who can be a difference maker for you in the playoffs and in winning the Stanley Cup. I think it’s important for him to get back with us. He’s a big part of our team, a big part of our leadership group. He’s a guy who puts us over the top.

“Right now, our plan is, let’s see where he’s at here and let’s see where he’s at in July. Right now, he feels very good and he’s on track for being ready for camp, so we’ll play that by ear.”

Bishop did not play this season after having surgery on his right knee on Oct. 21 but the 34-year-old goalie is expected to be ready for training camp. Bishop was 21-16-4 with a 2.50 goals-against average, .920 save percentage and two shutouts in 44 games (43 starts) in 2019-20. He was limited to three Stanley Cup Playoffs games last season because of the injury, allowing 12 goals on 77 shots (1-2, 5.44 GAA, .844 save percentage).

Bishop has two years remaining on a six-year, $29.5 million contract ($4.92 million average annual value) he signed on May 12, 2017.

Anton Khudobin was 12-11-7 with a 2.54 GAA, .905 save percentage and three shutouts in 32 games this season. Last season, he was 16-8-4 with a 2.22 GAA and .930 save percentage in 30 regular-season games (26 starts) to help the Stars reach the Stanley Cup Final, where they were defeated in six games by the Tampa Bay Lightning. Khudobin was 14-10 with a 2.69 GAA, .917 save percentage and one shutout in 25 postseason games (24 starts). 

This season the 35-year-old, who signed a three-year, $10 million contract ($3.33 million AAV) on Oct. 9, split time with rookie Jake Oettinger (11-8-7, 2.36 GAA, .911 save percentage in 29 games).

The expansion draft, which will take place July 21, will be under the same rules for the Kraken as the Vegas Golden Knights in 2017. Seattle will select one player from each team excluding Vegas for a total of 30 (at least 14 forwards, nine defensemen and three goalies) not including additional players who may be acquired as the result of violations of the expansion draft rules.

Each NHL team can protect seven forwards, three defensemen and one goalie, or eight skaters (forwards/defensemen) and one goalie. With either choice, exposed players must meet certain games-played and contractual criteria and any player who has a no-movement clause must agree to waive it to be exposed.

Khudobin does not have a no-move clause and Oettinger is exempt from being selected.

“You’re just waiting to see what’s going to happen,” Khudobin said Wednesday. “I just had a couple of meetings right now with the coaching staff and Jim, so what I can tell you? There’s an expansion draft, yes. What’s going to be? I don’t know. We’ll find out when it’s July (21). I’m just going to enjoy my time off right now. Whenever the time comes closer, I’ll think about it.”

Forward Roope Hintz will have surgery this week for an abductor tendon injury in his pelvis and is expected to be ready for training camp. Hintz, who missed time with the injury, scored 43 points (15 goals, 28 assists) in 41 games, third on the Stars behind forwards Joe Pavelski (51 points) and Jason Robertson (45).

Defenseman Miro Heiskanen can become a restricted free agent after the season and Nill said he plans to talk to his agent about a new contract. Heiskanen scored 27 points (eight goals, 19 assists) in 55 games this season.

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