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

goals-against average.

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

Mason.

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

12 appearances.

”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

for Chicago.

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.