Blackhawks sign Khabibulin to replace Emery
Veteran goalie Nikolai Khabibulin is returning to the Chicago
Blackhawks on a one-year deal, part of a busy Friday for the
Stanley Cup champions that also included new contracts for
defenseman Michal Rozsival and forward Michal Handzus.
Khabibulin, who played for Chicago for four seasons from
2005-09, replaces backup Ray Emery, who left the Blackhawks for a
$1.65 million, one-year deal with the Philadelphia Flyers. Viktor
Stalberg also left, agreeing to a $12 million, four-year deal from
the Nashville Predators.
Rozsival and Handzus each played a role in Chicago’s second
championship in four seasons. Rozsival agreed to a two-year
contract, and Handzus got a one-year deal.
Emery returns to Philly after teaming with Corey Crawford to win
the William B. Jennings Trophy awarded to the team with the lowest
Emery, who played for the Flyers in the 2009-10 season, went
17-1 with a 1.94 GAA last season. He spent two years in Chicago and
will now compete for the Philadelphia starting job with Steve
Khabibulin spent the past four seasons with Edmonton. He went
4-6-1 this past season with a shutout and a .908 save percentage in
”I think he is able to be the tandem with Corey that’s worked
so well over the past couple of years,” Blackhawks general manager
Stan Bowman said. ”It was very appealing for both sides. We have a
lot of familiarity with Nik.”
Bowman said the team had several conversations with Emery, but
he thought the veteran wanted to go somewhere where he could be the
No. 1 goalie.
The deal for the 40-year-old Khabibulin allows the Blackhawks to
bring prospect Antti Raanta along slowly. Raanta agreed to a
one-year contract last month.
”We had confidence in Ray this year and we’ll have confidence
in Nik next year,” Bowman said.
In his first season with Chicago, Rozsival had 12 assists in 27
games and contributed four more in the playoffs. He has 64 goals
and 208 assists in 783 games with Pittsburgh, the New York Rangers,
Phoenix and Chicago from 1999-2013.
Handzus, acquired from San Jose on April 1, had two goals and
six assists for the Sharks and Blackhawks during the regular
season. He added three goals and eight assists in 23 playoff games
The speedy Stalberg showed some promise but struggled to earn
playing time on a crowded roster. He had nine goals and 14 assists
in 47 games, but was in and out of the lineup during the
postseason. He had three assists in 19 playoff games.
The Predators are hoping a change of scenery will help after he
struggled to fit on a team loaded with stars such as Jonathan
Toews, Patrick Kane and Marian Hossa.