NHL Rumors: Zdeno Chara, Oilers goalie mess, and Anton Khudobin in Seattle?

nhl free agents
Mar 3, 2021; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Washington Capitals defenseman Zdeno Chara (C) congratulates right wing T.J. Oshie (77) and center Nicklas Backstrom (19) after defeating the Boston Bruins in a shootout at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

The Washington Capitals’ Zdeno Chara will take some time to decide if he wants to play next season. At 44 years of age, 82 games is a grind and after 23 seasons he could call it quits.

Zdeno Chara’s future

Chara and the Caps were eliminated in just five games by his former team, the Bruins. “That’s life. You have to move on,” he said. “I think it’s not always a decision I can make myself. Sometimes there are things in life you have to realize, and I have to have a conversation with my wife and children and see where we want to be in the next few days or weeks. After those conversations, I’m going to probably let the emotions settle in and see where I’m at.”

zdeno chara
Chara scores first with Caps (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)

There were a lot of rumors prior to this season that Chara may opt out or even retire. He obviously found the right fit in Washington but it appears the Caps may be looking to get younger for next season. Caps brass felt the team ran out of gas and they will try and address that this summer as well.

That may have Chara looking for a new team again. We learned that the Rangers were on his final checklist and they are said to be in the market for a veteran defender. There could be something there for him as the Rangers aim to make the playoffs next season.

Oilers goalie mess

The Edmonton Oilers need to stop pretending they don’t have serious goaltending problems. Mike Smith played admirably and GM Ken Holland would like to re-sign the pending UFA, but he can’t be the starter. There is talk they will buy out Mikko Koskinen and his $4.5 million cap hit this summer.

If the Oilers want to be a serious playoff threat they need to bring in a goaltender. This summer, Holland should pick up the phone and ask Blue Jackets GM, Jarmo Kekalainen which goaltender he wants to move. They also better do so before the Penguins get on the horn after Tristan’s Jarry’s performance against the Islanders.

Stars to expose Anton Khudobin

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Mar 6, 2021; Dallas, Texas, USA; Dallas Stars goaltender Anton Khudobin (35) and defenseman Jamie Oleksiak (2) skate in warm-ups prior to the game against the Columbus Blue Jackets at the American Airlines Center. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

The Dallas Stars are rumored to be planning on exposing goalie, Anton Khudobin in the Seattle Expansion draft. The Kraken need to select two goalies and they would do well if Khudobin was one of them. It was a tough season for the 35 year-old net minder, yet he still posted a solid 12-11-7 record with a 2.54 GAA and a .905 SV%. Let’s not forget, he was Dallas’ best player in their improbable Stanley Cup Final run last year.

The Kraken selecting him in the expansion draft would solve a lot of Dallas’ roster problems. The Stars would not only get Khudobin’s $3.3 million cap figure added to their offseason budget but by virtue of Seattle taking Khudobin, Dallas wouldn’t lose an exposed skater. After Joe Pavelski’s standout 2021 season, the Stars will almost certainly have to protect him, leaving somebody they had planned to protect before — the likes of Jason Dickinson or Radek Faksa — as unprotected. As mentioned above, it also clears up the Stars’ goaltending situation and saves the Stars from having to find a trade partner for Khudobin.

Saad Yousuf, The Athletic