Dallas Stars: The problems with Anton Khudobin and what to do about it
Dallas Stars goaltender Anton Khudobin quickly became a fan favorite during the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs. The “Fighting Khazakstaniazn Scorpion” then struggled mightily over the 2020-21 season.
What caused Khudobin’s drop in production and what should the Stars do with the netminder, moving forward?
Anton Khudobin posted a 2.22 GAA with a .930 SV% across 30 games during the Stars 2019-20 Stanley Cup run. He followed up with a 2.54 GAA and .905 SV% over 32 games in 2020-21. One can conclude there were many reasons that resulted in the 35-year old’s struggles last season.
The biggest reason for Khudobin’s struggles last season was arguably the Dallas Stars inconsistent schedule.
The 2020-21 season was abnormal from the start, as the NHL was learning to adapt to play during a pandemic. The Dallas Stars felt the abnormalities more than most, beginning the season with 17 COVID-19 cases. The infections resulted in a four game delay that were in addition to an already-condensed schedule. Such fluctuation in games left Khudobin with little wiggle room while also skewing his routines and comfort zone.
“Hockey is not meant to be played four in six, let alone what we’re going to do. This is going to be incredibly taxing on our players, there’s no questions.” -Rick Bowness
The Stars faced much tribulation after the NHL frantically rescheduled their postponed games. As a result, Khudobin faced a treacherous schedule that included 43 games in 76 days.
“Hockey is not meant to be played four in six, let alone what we’re going to do”, said head coach Rick Bowness. “This is going to be incredibly taxing on our players, there’s no questions.”
Bowness seemingly predicted the future as the Stars lost Roope Hintz and Alexander Radulov to significant injuries.