Jul 5, 2013, 10:04 PM EST
With Ray Emery headed back to Philadelphia, the Chicago Blackhawks found their new backup via a retread as well. Nikolai Khabibulin signed a one-year deal with the team, according to CSNChicago.com’s Tracey Myers.
The financial terms aren’t clear yet, but one can just about guarantee that “The Bulin Wall” took a massive cut from the $3.75 million he earned in 2013. Update: his agent Jay Grossman indicates it’s $2 million, although some of that is based on incentives.
While it’s reasonable to worry how well the 40-year-old can back Corey Crawford, Khabibulin seems to up his game when his contract is about to expire, last season included.
Obviously a lot of variables can influence these numbers, but it’s still amusing to compare and contrast his contract year work to the season he endured before. Here’s a chronology:
1997-98: 70 games played, .900 save percentage
1998-99: 63 GP, .923 save percentage
2002-03: 65 GP, .911 save percentage
2003-04: 55 GP, .910 save percentage … however, he won the Stanley Cup and had a .933 save percentage in the playoffs
2007-08: 50 GP, .909 save percentage
2008-09: 42 GP, .919 save percentage (stole fellow contract year beneficiary Cristobal Huet’s job)
2011-12: 40 GP, .910 save percentage
2013: 12 GP, .923 save percentage
Again, those numbers could be purely coincidental, and he’s had other strong seasons in his career.
Still, if Blackhawks fans want a reason to feel better about the team signing an aging goalie who experienced some personal issues during his time with Edmonton, his work in contract years might help.
- Neal suspended five games for kneeing Marchand in the head 155
- Report: Dion Phaneuf will face hearing for hit on Kevan Miller 98
- Bruins coach admits Thornton crossed the line, slams Pens for not being ‘truthful’ 123
- Lecavalier out 3-4 weeks with non-displaced fracture in back 8
- Islanders players hold closed-door meeting after ninth straight loss 15
- Penguins’ Neal has phone hearing for knee on Bruins’ Marchand 90
- Shawn Thornton confirms hearing with NHL Department of Player Safety (Updated) 88
- Video: Penguins’ Neal knees Bruins’ Marchand 69
- Penguins announce Brooks Orpik ‘alert and conscious’ (Updated) 47
- Shawn Thornton: ‘People could probably criticize that I’m a little too honorable’ 78
- Video: Penguins’ Orpik stretchered off ice; Bruins’ Thornton given match penalty (182)
- Neal suspended five games for kneeing Marchand in the head (155)
- Pens put Orpik on IR (128)
- Bruins coach admits Thornton crossed the line, slams Pens for not being ‘truthful’ (123)
- Report: Dion Phaneuf will face hearing for hit on Kevan Miller (98)