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Nikolai Khabibulin replaces Ray Emery with Blackhawks

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Nikolai Khabibulin will be 40 next January, entering what could be the final seasons of his lengthy career. He wasn’t going to be a starter again in the NHL, but has shown enough in the last two seasons with Edmonton Oilers that he can be a competent backup – especially on a team with some semblance of defense.

Say, the Chicago Blackhawks have defense ...

Enough, in fact, that backup goalie Ray Emery went 17-1-0 in 21 games last season with a 1.94 GAA. It’s no slight to Emery to say that the Blackhawks gave a very good goalie incredible numbers.

Now it’s Khabibulin’s turn to get that support. Again.

Khabibulin signed a 1-year, $2-million contract with the Blackhawks to back up Corey Crawford, returning to a franchise he played for from 2005-2009, before leaving for the Edmonton Oilers.

Crawford established himself as the starter in winning the Stanley Cup. The Bulin Wall doesn’t have much left to offer beyond spot starts. It’s a good fit for both.

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