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Net win: Stars goaltending situation moving into position of strength

Signing Khudobin and Point signals Dallas will be strong behind No. 1 Bishop

by Mike Heika @MikeHeika / Senior Staff Writer

For the past five seasons, the Stars have struggled to get their goaltending situation right.

In addition to trying to find the right partner for Kari Lehtonen (who was on a five-year contract that averaged $5.9 million), Dallas also couldn't get the proper rotation in the minors with its young goalies.

The result was the 25th-best goals against average in the NHL at 2.90 goals per game during that five-year stretch, and an AHL situation that relied heavily on veteran goalies.

 

[FULL COVERAGE: Khudobin inks two-year deal | Point signs three-year, entry level contract]

 

But if Sunday's signings are any indication, the Stars might be moving in the right direction in goal. Dallas announced a two-year contract for Anton Kudobin (at an average cap hit of $2.5 million) to be the NHL backup to Ben Bishop and also announced that Colton Point will leave Colgate and start his professional career.

The two moves have the potential to give the Stars not only a solid combination in the NHL, but also a competition between two young goalies in the AHL. Point, 20, and Landon Bow, 22, are expected to battle for ice time, and while one could start in the ECHL and one in the AHL, this is closer to the situation Dallas used to have at the turn of the century where Marty Turco, Manny Fernandez, Roman Turek, Mike Smith and Dan Ellis all fought for ice time and all became NHL goalies while working through the Stars' system.

"This is a great situation," said Jim Bedard, the Stars director of goaltending development. "You want to get every player in a situation where they can make the most of their time, and I think we'll have that."

Point was drafted in the fifth round in 2015 and then took off at Colgate. He went 16-12-5 at last season with a 1.74 GAA and .944 save percentage. He was a finalist for the Hobey Baker Award, given to the top player in NCAA hockey.

Video: CGY@DAL: Bishop stymies Flames with 38-save shutout

He could have returned for his junior season, but will start his pro career. That means the Stars will have two of their best goalie prospects in two different places, as Jake Oettinger will return to play at Boston University.

"One is coming out and one is staying in, so it's good progress for both of them at different levels,"Bedard said. "It's great for Colton to come out and get his feet wet. We're really looking forward to having him at the rookie tournament in Traverse City, I think we're going to really see him take the next step."

Point said at Development Camp in Frisco las week that he feels he's making progress.

"It's a bunch of little things, stuff you might not even notice. …Things that you don't think will make a big difference, but over time they add up," Point said of tips he's picking up. "There are situations for everything, and the more tools you have, and the better you know how to use each tool, the better you can handle every situation on the ice."

He added that just being around the Stars creates enthusiasm to move forward.

"It's exciting. You see the pictures of Marty Turco, and I watched a lot of him growing up, and he was an influence on my game at a young age," Point said. "When I got drafted two years ago, he tweeted at me, and I was like 'I can't wait to be in his shoes.' You really have to stay patient, and that's how you have to live your life, one step at a time."

Khudobin is a veteran who brings experience as a backup goalie. He has played for the Wild, Ducks, Hurricanes and Bruins, and also in the KHL. He went 16-6-7 with Boston last season, posting a 2.56 GAA and .913 save percentage.

With a two-year deal, he should give Point, Oettinger and Bow the chance to prepare for a spot in the NHL. Ben Bishop is in the second year of a six-year contract and is expected to hold the No. 1 position for years to come.

This story was not subject to the approval of the National Hockey League or Dallas Stars Hockey Club.

Mike Heika is a Senior Staff Writer for DallasStars.com and has covered the Stars since 1994. Follow him on Twitter @MikeHeika.

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