Skip to content

Blackhawks bring back Nikolai Khabibulin

Jul 5, 2013, 10:04 PM EDT

Nikolai Khabibulin AP

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:

Winnipeg/Phoenix

1997-98: 70 games played, .900 save percentage
1998-99: 63 GP, .923 save percentage

Tampa Bay

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

Chicago

2007-08: 50 GP, .909 save percentage
2008-09: 42 GP, .919 save percentage (stole fellow contract year beneficiary Cristobal Huet’s job)

Edmonton

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.

Latest Posts
  1. It’s Buffalo Sabres day on PHT

    Aug 28, 2014, 8:00 AM EDT

    Cody Hodgson Getty Images

    They’re in the middle of a rebuilding process.

  2. Eichel, like McDavid, will showcase his skills in Buffalo this fall

    Aug 27, 2014, 10:49 PM EDT

    Jack Eichel Getty Images

    Of course, neither will be wearing a Sabres’ uniform – not yet at least.

  3. Boston extends affiliation with Providence, Pandolfo named development coach

    Aug 27, 2014, 9:40 PM EDT

    Jay Pandolfo Getty Images

    They’ve also appointed Don Sweeney as the AHL team’s new general manager.

  4. Poll: Was 13-14 a fair representation of what Detroit was capable of?

    Aug 27, 2014, 8:28 PM EDT

    Pavel Datsyuk, Henrik Zetterberg Getty Images

    It matters given that they will start next season with a largely unchanged roster.

  5. Alfredsson’s future remains uncertain with camp looming

    Aug 27, 2014, 7:20 PM EDT

    Daniel Alfredsson Getty Images

    Ken Holland hasn’t been in contact with him lately, but that will change soon.

  6. NHL expansion talks emphatically shot down

    Aug 27, 2014, 1:28 PM EDT

    Bill Daly and Gary Bettman Getty Images

    “We haven’t defined a process and certainly no decisions have been made.”

  7. Under Pressure: Jimmy Howard

    Aug 27, 2014, 1:11 PM EDT

    howardjimmygetty Getty Images

    Needs to bounce back after last year’s disappointing campaign.

  8. Flames re-sign shot-blocking ace Bouma

    Aug 27, 2014, 12:31 PM EDT

    Calgary Flames v New York Islanders Getty Images

    Finished second in the NHL among forwards last year, with 87.

  9. Looking to make the leap: Anthony Mantha

    Aug 27, 2014, 11:39 AM EDT

    AnthonyMantha

    Former Quebec league sniper is gunning for a gig in Detroit.

  10. Report: Rangers show interest in Malone

    Aug 27, 2014, 10:57 AM EDT

    Ryan Malone Getty Images

    Former Tampa Bay forward was bought out of his contract earlier this summer, following legal troubles.

  11. Red Wings’ playoff streak borders on historic, but does it matter?

    Aug 27, 2014, 10:04 AM EDT

    Gustav Nyquist AP

    The Red Wings are rebuilding on the fly, but are they assembling a future Cup contender?

  12. Despite ‘nightmare’ season, Clarkson excited for future

    Aug 27, 2014, 9:00 AM EDT

    David Clarkson Getty Images

    He’ll enter the second season of his seven-year, $36.75 million contract.

  13. It’s Detroit Red Wings day on PHT

    Aug 27, 2014, 8:00 AM EDT

    Henrik Zetterberg Getty Images

    They have made it to the playoffs for 23 straight seasons.

  14. NHL-to-Vegas talks gaining steam

    Aug 26, 2014, 9:57 PM EDT

    NHL Awards - Show Getty Images

    A recent report has added new fuel to the speculation on that subject.

  15. Johnston will enter camp looking for wingers for Malkin

    Aug 26, 2014, 8:30 PM EDT

    Evgeni Malkin Getty Images

    Dupuis and Hornqvist are two of the main options.

Top 10 NHL Player Searches
  1. C. Price (1799)
  2. J. Harding (1752)
  3. M. Staal (1619)
  4. J. Giguere (1557)
  5. J. Thornton (1467)
  1. A. Ekblad (1279)
  2. J. Spezza (1278)
  3. A. Semin (1278)
  4. C. MacArthur (1248)
  5. B. Bishop (1171)