Why Toronto Shouldn’t Be Interested in Khabibulin


Rumor has it that the Toronto Maple Leafs are in the market for a new goaltender, and the top candidate is injury prone veteran, Nikolai Khabibulin. Current Maple Leafs goaltender, James Reimer, is still looking for a way off of the team, after requesting a trade last season, and Khabibulin could be his replacement.

Toronto is looking for a strong, experienced player to back up starting goaltender Jonathan Bernier. Which raises the question, why on earth is Toronto interested in Khabibulin? Yes, he is experienced, but his play has been anything but strong the past few seasons. Khabibulin’s style of play is outdated and the 41 year-old can’t even dream of keeping up with NHL considering his enormous list of injuries.

In 2009 the Edmonton Oilers signed Khabibulin as their starting goaltender; Khabibulin then proceeded to miss approximately one-third of the Oilers games through his four year contract from 2009-2013.

The Chicago Blackhawks took a chance on Khabibulin last season, and, unsurprisingly, Khabibulin only managed to 4 games and a 0.811 save percentage for the Blackhawks before being sidelined for the rest of the season due to a lower body injury.

Adding to the list of reasons that make him a hazard, Khabibulin would be coming back after undergoing rotator cuff surgery in January. Signing Khabibulin could be disastrous for the Leafs if anything happened to Jonathan Bernier, causing him to be out for an extended period of time. Khabibulin’s career has dragged on and his numbers, as well as injuries, are getting worse every season; it would be in the best interest of the Leafs, or any NHL team in general, to steer clear of signing Khabibulin.

The Maple Leafs have also been linked to showing interest in future Hall-of-Famer Martin Brodeur. Although Brodeur is not as bad an option as Khabibulin, aging goaltenders are something the Maple Leafs really need to steer clear of. The best option for Toronto at this point would be to resign James Reimer and start to prepare for the 2014-2015. There is no point in Toronto trading away a goaltender with solid play for veteran with bad statistics, one who will most likely sit out most of the season with a new injury. Reimer is the best option the Leafs have and trading him now could be disastrous for the already struggling team.

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