The Dallas Stars recently locked up goaltender Jake Oettinger to a three-year extension, now their attention should be on Jason Robertson’s new deal.
After a positive season in a difficult Central Division, the Dallas Stars had some serious roster decisions to address this season with restricted free agents Jake Oettinger and Jason Robertson, both of whom are expected to be long-term key pieces to the team.
Oettinger had a solid second season in the NHL, before turning things up a notch (or two) and posting a 1.81 goals against average and a .954 save percentage during their seven-game first-round series against the Calgary Flames.
With the 23-year-old showing what he is capable of achieving between the pipes, the Stars locked him up to a new three-year, $4 million AAV contract, leaving just one key piece left to sign a new deal. One that is expected to be significantly more in both value and length.
Jason Robertson, who broke into the NHL in the second year of his entry-level contract in 2021, saw out his contract year with some stellar performances that saw him lead the team in scoring with 41 goals and second in total points with 79 in just 74 games.
Now an RFA, the Arcadia, California native will be looking for both term and high value in his second contract, potentially seeing it come in around the $8 million mark over eight years if both parties are seeking a long partnership.
The issue the Stars currently have is their cap situation limits how much they can feasibly work with, with $6.335 million of space currently available under the cap ceiling.
There is always a scenario where Robertson accepts a lower AAV, around $6 million, on a much shorter term before seeking a significant increase in both term and salary, a situation that played out with P.K. Subban and the Montreal Canadiens.
Should Robertson be content with this, it’s likely a deal gets done by training camp and the Dallas Stars have no need for any further movement. However, it’s more likely that the reason a deal has not yet been agreed upon is because the two parties are apart on either term or salary.
So, if the Stars need to make some room to fit Robertson’s demands under the ceiling, it’s likely that a trade is on the horizon to offload some cap to a team that is capable of handling it.
Anton Khudobin appears to be the prime candidate for a trade, holding a $3.333 million cap hit for the upcoming season before becoming an unrestricted free agent, with his modified no-trade clause having expired this summer.
Khudobin missed the majority of last season due to a hip injury that required surgery in March, having posted a disappointing 3.63 goals against average and a .879 save percentage in just six NHL games.
He is expected to be healthy and ready to compete in training camp, but with Oettinger and Wedgewood locked up for this season, there really is no need to hold onto the 36-year-old veteran.
A team such as the Arizona Coyotes could present the perfect opportunity to trade away Khudobin, with the Yotes needing another goalie to play alongside Karel Vejmelka in their quest to land the first-overall pick in 2023.
Khudobin’s best chance to play regularly in the NHL could come in the desert, and if he puts in any half-decent performances, he could even find himself moved on again to a playoff-bound team needing to add depth between the pipes.
The Stars may need to add a sweetener, such as a mid-round draft pick in any of the next three drafts, in order to facilitate offloading Khudobin’s contract, but it would come as no surprise to see a rebuilding team snatch it up relatively quickly.
Parting ways with Khudobin would give the Stars around $9.668 million in total space. This should be more than enough to secure Robertson’s long-term future while still giving the team some flexibility for potential moves further down the road.