Monday, September 29, 2008

Khabibulin on waivers

The Chicago Blackhawks have placed goalie Nikolai Khabibulin on waivers as speculation of a trade continues.

Khabibulin was expected to start in Sunday's preseason game against the Dallas Stars but was not on the ice or the bench for the game. Antti Niemi got the start and Corey Crawford served as his back-up. The Blackhawks take on the Columbus Blue Jackets on Monday night but no starter has been announced.
There shouldn't really be any confusion here as to why this is being done, as it's almost the exact same situation as the Mathieu Schneider one: there's an overpaid, aging veteran and a team over the salary cap trying to get under.

Even after dumping Robert Lang's $4-million salary to the Habs, Chicago is having cap issues due to several young players' bonuses. Cap Central has the 'Hawks $2-million under at the moment, but that's with young stud Cam Barker stashed in the minors.

They want him in the NHL and playing big minutes, and in order for that to happen, some salary needs to be freed up.

Ditto for Jack Skille, Michael Blunden and even Khabibulin's potential replacement, 25-year-old Finnish league star Antti Niemi, who has impressed in camp.

Shuttling out Khabibulin, even in a deal where Chicago takes back some salary as Anaheim did with Schneider, will free up enough room for coach Denis Savard to build his roster how he sees fit — and not as a result of trying to maneovre under the cap.

Khabibulin makes an incredible $6.75-million this season in the final year of a boat anchor deal he signed with the 'Hawks, a salary that's going to be awfully difficult to move (especially given his play lately). Not many teams are dying for another starter and there haven't been any major injuries to 'tenders in training camp or preseason, but that could change.

For now, I don't see him moving anywhere, even on re-entry waivers. Chicago will have to take someone else's cap headache back in any deal here.
.

Labels: , ,

22 Comments:

At 2:48 PM, September 29, 2008, Blogger wade little said...

AN FYI - Blunden is FAAAR down the depth chart. You'll see guys like Skille, Brouwer, Kontiola or even Beach and Aliu before Blunden.

But I get what you're saying. Here's hoping Khabi's complete contract is picked up.

 
At 3:01 PM, September 29, 2008, Blogger Nick said...

Even on re-entry? Before watching the Schneider situation I might not have believed that, but salary aside, Matheiu was a better pickup, so I wouldn't be surprised to see Khabi's contract being next to impossible to mvoe

 
At 3:03 PM, September 29, 2008, OpenID thejumbotron said...

i know he's not out of town yet , but this is great news for my number 1 fantasy goalie mr. huet.

 
At 3:13 PM, September 29, 2008, Blogger James Mirtle said...

The biggest issue is that I don't think any team is really dying for a goaltender, and certainly not a starter.

Where would he go?

 
At 3:26 PM, September 29, 2008, Blogger Fred Poulin said...

Michel Ouellet is also on waivers!

 
At 3:26 PM, September 29, 2008, Blogger FAUX RUMORS said...

1) California here he goes...? It solves LA's issue with the cap(being under) They have a need for a #1 goalie, and its only for this season and they don't have to give up anything of value to get him.
2) Or perhaps Don Waddell will trade Zac Bogosian for him? ; )

 
At 3:27 PM, September 29, 2008, Blogger Nick said...

Good question. Why didn't Chicago just live with him for the rest of the year? Aren't there any good goalies entering free agency next year?

 
At 3:32 PM, September 29, 2008, Blogger James Mirtle said...

Because they'll be over the cap with him on the roster and probably feel that's way too big a ticket to put in the minors.

 
At 3:33 PM, September 29, 2008, Blogger James Mirtle said...

The Kings won't pick up an overpriced player just to hit the salary floor — they're within $2-million of it already with O'Sullivan unsigned.

 
At 3:33 PM, September 29, 2008, OpenID thejumbotron said...

I'm really surprised that, even in a confirmed re-building year, the Kings won't take a hard look at Khabibulin, at least to get them closer to the cap floor.

Granted, they have their hands full with the Emerald (as in the color of money) Eyes of Paddy O'Sullivan right now, but Khabibulin would be a better mentor for Jonathan Bernier than Jason Labarbera, who is much better utilized a platoon than as a #1 starter. I'm in Boston, so I don't have my ear to the ground in LA, but are there any goaltenders between Bernier and Labarbera worth keeping on the NHL roster?

Then again, Khabibulin always has the option of taking more money and going home to the KHL. As a native goaltender, teams would line up around whatever Russian people line up around to have a goalie that can play more than 65% of the time.

 
At 3:40 PM, September 29, 2008, Blogger Earl Sleek said...

I'm in Boston, so I don't have my ear to the ground in LA, but are there any goaltenders between Bernier and Labarbera worth keeping on the NHL roster?

Ersberg probably qualifies.

The Kings need an experience blueliner much more than I think they need another goalie, and we saw how driving that need was when Schneider got waived.

Lombardi probably just sits on his hands and laugh at Tallon.

 
At 3:44 PM, September 29, 2008, Blogger James Mirtle said...

I think so, too. At least to start.

Ersberg was terrific in a late-season audition, and they want Bernier to get all of the starts in the minors.

 
At 3:57 PM, September 29, 2008, Blogger Nick said...

James - I meant why did they sign Huet this year instead of someone else next year.

 
At 3:58 PM, September 29, 2008, Blogger Adam C said...

Almost every team has a solid #1 these days, but - at least on re-entry waivers - you'd think Colorado would be interested.

Or maybe they're satisfied with Budaj and Raycroft...

 
At 4:30 PM, September 29, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think this is poetic justice. I can still remember Khabibulin holding out at least one full season (and maybe part of second?) before he got traded to Tampa.
Yes, he won the cup and got his ring (and money) but now it's payback time. Send him to ECHL. Or that great league KHL somewhere over there.

 
At 4:36 PM, September 29, 2008, Blogger James Mirtle said...

James - I meant why did they sign Huet this year instead of someone else next year.

Because they don't think Khabibulin can get it done anymore.

They're probably right, at least when it comes to being a starter on a legitimate playoff team.

 
At 5:06 PM, September 29, 2008, Blogger Jonathan said...

Jason Labarbera had a .910 SV for a miserable team last season. Additionally, he's posted .934, .936 and .933 in 59, 53 and 62 games at the AHL level over the past three seasons.

Nikolai Khabibulin hasn't had a .910 SV% since playing in the Southeast Division behind a team that won the Stanley Cup. Why would Dean Lombardi pay 6M for an inferior goaltender to the one he has?

 
At 5:13 PM, September 29, 2008, Blogger Leather McWhip said...

This isn't a good distraction for this young team. Chicago has made some great strides this past year, but I think Tallon has really painted them into a tough corner.

Khabibulin will be nearly impossible to move even at half his salary on re-entry waivers. It has nothing to do with ability or confidence -- it's 100% salary. There's be plenty of bites if Khabby's salary was 3 or 4 million, where it should be.

And this whole thing means Chicago can't afford the experienced centre they desperately need ... they're one injury away (that is, they're one Havlat check away) from missing the playoffs, in my opinion, despite the craze everywhere that has them making the playoffs with ease.

 
At 5:21 PM, September 29, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can't believe Tallon paid $5 million plus for Huet who has won five games and no series in the playoffs.
Hawks fans, when and if you make the playoffs this year, be prepared for Huet to give up a game killing goal at the worst possible time.

 
At 8:13 PM, September 29, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

As a native goaltender, teams would line up around whatever Russian people line up around to have a goalie that can play more than 65% of the time.

Supermarket bread counter.

 
At 1:05 PM, September 30, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't see the Huet signing as being smart from Chicago's point of view. Granted they get an awesome regular season goalie but I think Huet has shown he does not have what it takes to win the playoffs. Khabibulin is a proven winner who carried Tampa when it counted. Now they lose Khabibulin for nothing (if they are lucky) at a time when the team finally could have used him. Regardless of where he ends up, Nik will be remembered as the first Russian goalie to win the Stanley Cup and a great money goaltender (in more ways than one!)

 
At 11:58 PM, September 30, 2008, Blogger Comrade J. Michael Neal said...

Huet has shown he does not have what it takes to win the playoffs.

I used to hear the same thing about Chris Osgood. I used to hear it about Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk. Unless you can point to something specific, and make it stick, I'm going with the really big sample size of the regular season instead of the really small sample size of Huet's playoff career.

Aside from that, his career playoff save percentage is actually slightly better than it is for the regular season.

 

Post a Comment

<< Home

Links to this post:

Create a Link


.

Free Page Rank Checker
eXTReMe Tracker