While the Boston Bruins have been somewhat shaky the past few weeks, they will be returning to the playoffs for a sixth consecutive season. The standout goaltending of Tuukka Rask has been a big part of the team’s success this year, but it is important not to overlook the contributions of his backup, Anton Khudobin. In his first year of full-time NHL duty, Khudobin has been steady in posting a 9-4-1 record with one shutout and a .920 save percentage. His last start wasn’t the best, but he didn’t get much help from the defense in front of him either.
With Tim Thomas out of the picture this season, the Bruins chose to go with Khudobin as the backup to Rask, a decision that has paid off quite well. He is set to be an unrestricted free agent at season’s end, and it will be interesting to see what the Bruins do with him. They not only have Niklas Svedberg, the AHL’s top goalie this season, in the fold but will also see 2012 first-round pick Malcolm Subban turn professional soon. Khudobin has certainly earned another NHL deal with his play this season, but it may not be with the Bruins.
Khudobin’s play this season is even more impressive when looking back at his early career. He was a seventh-round pick of the Minnesota Wild in 2004, and had toiled in the AHL for five seasons (while seeing seven total games of NHL action) before this one. He now has a 14-5-1 career mark in the NHL, and has shown that he could be a solid backup just about anywhere if the Bruins don’t pursue keeping him.