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Thursday, October 17

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Blackhawks Tue Sep 30 2008

Khabi-buh-bye

When the Blackhawks scratched goaltender Nicolai Khabibulin from Sunday's start, many minds wondered if there was something brewing.

It turns out there was, as Khabibulin was put on waivers yesterday morning by the Blackhawks and cleared the wire this morning. Although the team had said all summer they were comfortable with two top-tier goalies all summer, the writing was on the wall for Khabibulin when the Hawks signed Cristobal Huet to a 4-year deal over the offseason. The only questions remaining were "when" and "where".

At this point, we're still waiting for an answer on the "where." By clearing waivers, the Hawks are free from the $6.75 million owed Khabibulin this season, putting them well under cap space to pursue a 2nd line center or move some prospects up to the parent club. However, it's highly unlikely Khabi and his salary will ever play a minute in Rockford for the AHL IceHogs.

While no teams were interested in picking up the full amount owed to Khabibulin via waiver, there's still a possibility a deal can be struck. GM Dale Tallon will be working the phones to strike a deal, though will have to take back some salary in any potential trade partner.

In a worst case scenario, if the Hawks recall Khabibulin, he would have to pass through re-entry waivers where any team can nab him for half the salary, with the Blackhawks on the hook for the rest and getting nothing in return.

There are certainly teams that need goaltending help, with the two most prominent being the L.A. Kings and Ottawa Senators, and I'd expect a transaction at some point soon with the season starting Oct. 10. One thing is certain; Khabibulin has worn the Indianhead sweater for the last time, barring a drastic turn of events.

 
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Bill / October 3, 2008 1:55 PM

Good move but better move would have been to unload him sooner and have the money to keep Robert Lange.

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