The Dallas Stars are sending goalie Ben Bishop on a conditioning assignment in the minor leagues as their former starter continues a long recovery from a knee injury.
Bishop hasn't played since the NHL's playoff bubble in Canada in August 2020. The 35-year-old had surgery during the short offseason that followed and didn't play during the 2020-21 season.
If Bishop is deemed healthy enough to return to the NHL after a stint with the Texas Stars of the AHL, Dallas will be overloaded in net.
Braden Holtby and Jake Oettinger have been the starters in recent weeks. Anton Khudobin, Bishop's replacement during the Dallas run to the 2020 Stanley Cup Final, has been a healthy scratch the past four games.
Bishop is in the fifth year of a $29.5 million, six-year contract he signed to be their starter after a trade from Los Angeles in 2017.
With Bishop's health still a question going into this season, the Stars signed Holtby. The 32-year-old won a Stanley Cup with Washington in 2018 and was a starter for the Capitals for eight seasons.
The 23-year-old Oettinger has been Dallas' best goalie this season, going 5-0 with a 1.41 goals-against average.