Monday, September 29, 2008

The Rumour Mill: Do the Sens want Khabibulin?

The Chicago Blackhawks have put goaltender Nikolai Khabibulin on waivers today. He's been cited for a couple of years as the possible answer for the Senators in net, but would he be an upgrade over our current goalies?

I'm not sure how much better Khabibulin is than either Martin Gerber or Alex Auld. I don't think he's that much better, and I do think he's overrated today. He's going to be paid $6.75M this season, and his career numbers are actually worse than Gerber:
  • Khabibulin: 2.69 GAA, .908 SP
  • Gerber: 2.60 GAA, .911 SP
Khabibulin has been around a lot longer, that is true, and he has been playing on a pretty weak Chicago squad for the last few years. And one big difference are the playoff stats between the two players:
  • Khabibulin: 55% winning percentage, 2.27 GAA, .922 SP
  • Gerber: 17% winning percentage, 3.50 GAA, .890 SP
If Khabibulin's not picked up by then, the Sens could do well to grab him at half-price on re-entry waivers. But that raises the question of what to do with Gerber, because his trade value is certainly not very high right now. And the Sens brass aren't likely interested in carrying three NHL goaltenders.

We'll see what happens. Chances are that the Sens will continue to give Gerber the opportunity to prove himself, and I'll remind everyone of my prediction that he will do well. I don't think Khabibulin--who appears to have lost his job this year to Cristobal Huet and Antti Niemi--will really be an upgrade, but crazier things have happened.
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