I get that it’s somewhat unsurprising the Blackhawks are trying to jettison Nikolai Khabibulin. They’ve just got way too much expensive goaltending. It’s like Mr. and Mrs. Howell picked the goalies. all items
But to put him on waivers? The Blackhawks are obviously hoping Khabibulin is claimed off waivers, but why would anyone claim him and miss the chance to trade away some bad contracts? If/when he “successfully” passes through waivers, if the Blackhawks try and bring him back up, someone could claim him, with the ‘Hawks on the hook for half of Khabibulin’s salary. That’s not a big deal toward the end of the season when there’s not much left salary left, but it’s kind of a big deal until then. While Chicago is supposed to be relatively deep in goal, if they did need Khabibulin to come up from the AHL, he wouldn’t be available. And while it’s only one preseason game, Chicago starting goalie Cristobal Huet giving up seven goals in one game to Columbus has to make people just a little nervous about where this season could go.
And how are the Kings not getting involved in this? While they have some young goalies in their system, why not upgrade? Something lost in Chicago’s acquisition of every free agent goalie is that Khabibulin’s numbers weren’t bad the last two seasons: a .902 and .908 save percentage and a 2.86/2.63 goals against. Khabibulin is expensive, but solid. And even with all of his injuries, he still played 50 games last season.
Speaking of waiver action, the Islanders, already in the hole with defensemen injuries, claimed New York Ranger blueliner Thomas Pock on waivers. Pock has struggled to crack the Rangers lineup but he’s one of my favorite defenseman. He’s a nice skater and he has a fantastic shot. While the Rangers might not have liked Pock’s toughness, or lack thereof, Pock still brings a lot to an NHL team. It’s a great pickup for the Isles and it should help their suddenly resurgent (if only in the preseason) powerplay. The Rangers never gave him a fair look so I’m glad Pock will have a chance someplace else.