In a perplexing move, the Dallas Stars came to an agreement with goaltender Ben Bishop to waive his No-Movement Clause with the intention of the Stars protecting Anton Khudobin in the upcoming expansion draft. Why is this perplexing you might ask? Well if you aren’t a fan of the Stars organization or haven’t heard, the successor to both Bishop and Dobby played his first full season in the NHL in the previous season. Jake Oettinger.
Jake Oettinger is much like Ben Bishop in size and stature, but with more hype. Oettinger has been firmly implanted in the Stars plans since he was selected 26th overall in the 2017 NHL Entry Draft. Anytime a goalie is selected in the first round, you know the team that selects them has monster plans for them. (For the most part, please cycle out the busts and flash in the pans. Relax. It’s opinionated writing.) The reason for the head tilts is plain and simple to me, what do you do with three essentially NHL ready goalies? Well, let me tell you. (Again, opinionated writing. Take it with some salt on the rim and tequila in the glass.)
First things first. I am roughly 96% confident the Seattle Kraken do NOT select Ben Bishop to be their anchor. Ocean and boats jokes folks. He’s back at it.
If I am running the Kraken on draft day, the last thing I would want to do is risk my franchises future between the pipes on a guy who spent the ENTIRE previous season on the IR. Even more risky is the fact that the Stars shut down the possibility of Bishop even thinking about coming back to play at all when it was publicly stated that he had the timetable of coming back in April. Whether or not that had to do with the Stars fumbling their way to the end of the season much like one Tony Romo trying to hold a field goal, the facts are Bishop is a liability with his health. You can’t risk a brand new franchise on Bishop’s track record with the IR.
If the Stars do in fact come out of the expansion draft with three NHL caliber goalies, which is likely, it would be detrimental to the trajectory of Otter to send him back down to the AHL for any time period. Otter was the perfect compliment to Dobby in his rookie season and played himself into a secondary roll for whoever gets the nod on opening night in the upcoming season.
What happens next?
If I’m sitting in the Stars front office I have one goal in mind. Trades. It’s no secret the Stars once again lacked the offensive explosiveness that it takes to push a team into playoff contention. Granted, injuries plagued the team up and down and cost you one of your best goal scorers in Alexander Radulov for a large chunk of the season. Outside of that the bottom two lines for the Stars didn’t and can’t produce at a top level with a scoring center.
Jim Nill finds himself in a position to package the 14th overall draft pick along with Dobby or Bishop, and maybe even the rights to a prospect to bring back some firepower. I think I speak for most Stars fans when I say, I would prefer to not see anymore overtime games for quite some time. While both Dobby and Bishop are fan favorites in Dallas, both can serve other teams to allow Otter the chance to remain in the NHL where he rightfully belongs.
Lastly there are the buyouts. Keith Yandle was announced to have been bought out by the Florida Panthers early Thursday morning, and the Minnesota Wild ruffled the franchise feathers by buying out Ryan Suter and Zack Parise earlier in the week. Dobby won’t be bought out, but there is a possibility that Bishop might be. If the Stars are truly in a win now scenario the buyout would not come back to haunt them until ’23-’24. Even then you risk losing out on $833,000 which in hindsight isn’t as nearly as costly as some buyouts will be.
This is all armchair thinking but it makes no difference that the news of Bishop’s NMC being waived has ignited Stars fans on all social media. Stay tuned and buckle up because if the Kraken do in fact leave Bishop out of their plans we may see some significant moves on the horizon.