31-Year-Old Goalie – Boston Bruins
Anton Khudobin Contract Information:
Signed a two-year, $2.4 million deal with the Bruins in July 2016.
Khudobin will get the starting nod for Thursday's home matchup with the Capitals, Joe Haggerty of NBC Sports Boston reports.
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Anton Khudobin: Past News Updates ( ▲ View most recent update )
RotoWire's Preseason Outlooks
Khudobin is back in Boston after signing a two-year extension worth $1.2 million per season. Barring injury or an unexpected trade, heíll back up undisputed starter Tuukka Rask, reuniting a tandem that enjoyed success during the 2012-13 NHL season. The 30-year-old spent last season in the Ducksí system, seeing the bulk of his action with AHL San Diego, but heís a seasoned pro, capable of providing the Bís with a reliable backup option, while top prospect Malcolm Subban gains valuable game experience in the minors.
Khudobin joins a muddled goaltending situation in Anaheim after spending the past two seasons splitting time with Cam Ward in net for Carolina. The 29-year-old owns a solid 2.40 career GAA, but he will have to beat out one of incumbent starter Frederik Andersen and young phenom John Gibson just to see any playing time at the NHL level to begin the season. Khudobin was acquired in what was essentially a salary dump in the offseason, though that won't prevent him from playing if the Ducks believe he gives them the best chance to win games. If the Russian does see the ice in Anaheim, his record will surely be better than last seasonís 8-17-6 mark since the Ducks are expected to win a lot of games coming off a 109-point season.
Khudobin, who originally signed a one-year, $800,000 contract with Carolina in July 2013 to be Cam Wardís backup, got the chance to become the Canesí No. 1 starter last season when Ward wound up missing large chunks of time due to various injuries. In fact, during these stretches, Khudobin played so well that once Ward was healthy enough to play, he was relegated to No. 2 duty most of the time. By seasonís end, Khudobin owned a .926 save percentage -- fourth-best in the entire NHL -- along with a 19-14-1 record and 2.30 GAA. Re-signed to a two-year, $4.5 million contract in March, Khudobin will likely open the season in at least a timeshare with Ward for the starting goalie job. Given Wardís history as the teamís top guy the last few seasons, we expect he will at least be given a shot to win back the starterís role this year, however we think Khudobin remains the odds-on favorite to become the teamís de facto No. 1 goalie at some point as the season progresses.
Khudobin, who signed a one-year, $800,000 contract with Carolina in July, spent last season with the Bruins as Tuukka Rask's backup, recording a 9-4-1 record. He has talent and the potential to give Carolina solid goaltending the nights Ward does not play. But given that Ward is firmly entrenched as the Canes' top netminder, Khudobin's opportunities for playing time will likely be few and far between.
Khudobin, who has only played in seven NHL games (five starts) to date, amassed a 5-1-0 record and .961 save percentage between Minnesota and Boston. He will now have the opportunity to back up Tuukka Rask, in the wake of Tim Thomasí departure from the Bruins. The 26-year-old has been sharp in his limited NHL action, but the sample size is obviously small. Either way, Khudobin makes a sneaky end-game grab as a handcuff to Rask, given the sound brand of defensive hockey the Bruins play in front of whomever is between the pipes for them.
Khudobin, who has looked sharp in very brief NHL stints over the last two seasons, will be penciled in as the No. 1 goalie for AHL Providence and provides nice insurance if either Tim Thomas or Tuukka Rask is injured at any point.
Khudobin will be the backup to Niklas Backstrom after Josh Harding was lost for the season with a knee injury. He had 2.43 GAA with Houston of the AHL and two impressive starts with the Wild. He was a rising prospect with the Wild, so the Wild may not see a big dropoff from Harding. However, as a rookie he may not get as many starts initially as Harding did in the backup role. UPDATE: The Wild signed Jose Theodore in September, meaning Khudobin is likely the No. 3 goalie in Minnesota now.
Khudobin has bounced between the AHL and ECHL the last two years, and has yet to make his NHL debut for the Wild. Consistency is a problem for the 23-year old, which is something he will need to address if he hopes to crack the Wild roster this season. Even then, he'll likely need injuries - or a trade - ahead of him on the organizational depth chart to move into the NHL.
Khudobin denied pucks with ease in the AHL and ECHL, based upon robust goals-against totals -- 1.99 and 1.98 respectively in 2007-08. The teams that the Russian played for include the Houston Aeros (Wild affiliate) and the Texas Wildcatters. Minnesota locked his services with a three-year entry-level contract in 2007, a move that will allow Khudobin to learn how to better position himself in goal and become more consistent for future NHL consideration.
The 19-year-old Russian will try to win the backup job to Nolan Schaefer for Houston of the American Hockey League this season. He had a 2.72 GAA playing for Metallurg Magnitogorsk in Russia last year.