Dallas Stars goaltender Anton Khudobin, 35, expected to miss six months following hip surgery

Dallas Stars goaltender Anton Khudobin is expected to miss six months after having hip surgery, a move that almost certainly means Braden Holtby will remain with the team rather than getting moved before the trade deadline.

The 35-year-old Khudobin underwent arthroscopic surgery and had the labrum in his right hip repaired, general manager Jim Nill said Tuesday, a day after the procedure was done in New York.

Khudobin had not played in the NHL since mid-January and at all since Jan. 29. He has split time this season with Dallas and their top affiliate, the Texas Stars of the American Hockey League.

The veteran, who anchored a surprising run to the Stanley Cup Finals in 2020, in the postseason bubble, was placed on waivers earlier this season. If another team had claimed him, Dallas would have saved some much-needed space on the salary cap. He went unclaimed, however.

With Dallas among a handful of teams fighting to make the playoffs in the competitive Western Conference, Holtby -- who did not dress in the Stars' most recent game because of a lower-body injury -- is a valuable presence even after young Jake Oettinger emerged as the starter. Holtby, who won the Vezina Trophy as the league's top goalie in 2016 and backstopped the Washington Capitals to the Stanley Cup in 2018, is under contract for the rest of this season.

Khudobin has one more year left on his deal at a salary-cap hit of $3.33 million. After stashing him in the minors for part of this season, Dallas could put him on long-term injured reserve if Khudobin's recovery from a difficult surgery for goalies takes longer than anticipated.

The Stars will now benefit from going into this season with extra goalies. Longtime starter Ben Bishop gave up on his comeback from nagging knee injuries in December, and he's expected to spend 2022-23 on long-term injury reserve.

After leading the league in save percentage while sharing the net with Bishop during the 2019-20 season, which was cut short by the pandemic, Khudobin took over as the starter in the playoffs. He made a postseason-high 744 saves in the bubble, earning a $10 million, three-year contract.

Khudobin has since been unable to recapture that magic, so the Stars handed the responsibilities to Holtby and Oettinger.

Two teams ahead of Dallas in the standings made a trade Tuesday, with Western Conference-leading Colorado acquiring Nico Sturm from Central Division-rival Minnesota for Tyson Jost in a one-for-one swap of forwards. The move clears $1.275 million in cap space for the Avalanche, who on Monday dealt a draft pick and a top prospect to Anaheim for pending free agent defenseman Josh Manson.

The trade deadline is Monday at 3 p.m. ET.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.