The Edmonton Oilers Should Buy Out Nikolai Khabibulin

Nikolai Khabibulin – the man, the myth, the unknown.

Winner of the 2004 Stanley Cup, signer of lucrative contract…

Nikolai Khabibulin, ladies and gentlemen.

Does anyone make the argument that Khabibulin should still be starting in goal?

All good things must end... Photo courtesy

I believe in the rebuild, I do.  How much I believe in ‘the rebuild’ today as compared to two or three years ago is suspect, but I do believe that this team is still at least a year or two away from the playoffs (and that’s if a whole lot of things go right).

I’d like to pinch this one at the neck, and by that, I mean getting rid of Nikolai Khabibulin by any means necessary. And if Brian Burke picks up his phone and needs this guy, I’d pay his flight myself.

But even I know that isn’t bloody likely.

So in order to end this insanity, I propose that the Oilers do the unthinkable…and that is to buy Nikolai Khabibulin out of the remainder of his contract.


You’re right, he’s not ‘the’ problem, but he’s not a beacon of consistency either.  To the math room!

Between that one real ugly goal on opening night back in 2009 to present day, Nikolai Khabibulin’s Oilers numbers look like this…

2009-10 EDM 18 18 1089 7 9 0 2
2010-11 EDM 39 38 2218 10 26 0 2

57 total games played

17 wins

35 defeats


Add to that a .909 SV% (!) / 3.03 GAA in 2009-10 and a sparkly .893 SV% / 3.33 GAA this year, and you have the wonder that is Nikolai Khabibulin with the Oilers. It’s obvious that his better days have long passed him by, and more than a couple of folks would like to know what the hell was going through Steve Tambellini’s mind when he inked the-then 36 year old netminder to a 4 year/$15M 35+ deal at the end of the 2008-09 season.

The whole “buy out Khabibulin” idea has crept into my mind because it’s looking more and more that Devan Dubnyk could be Edmonton’s man of the future.  By ‘man of the future’, I mean something to the effect of DUBNYK HAS A RECORD OVER .500 ON THIS TEAM (8-7-6) w/ a .914 SV and a much easier on the eyes 2.78 GAA.  Not too shabby.

Seriously, do you think JDD could pull that sort of chicanery off?  OVER .500 on a team that’s thirteen games UNDER .500?


What’s it going to cost? Our friends at CapGeek provide us the answer.

Screen cap from

It’s a mixed bag, I agree.  The numbers don’t lie – the team doesn’t save a dime in cap space, and they’re stuck doling out $1.25M for the next four years.

It’s your call – What’s worse?  Two more years of Khabibulin, or what seems like pennies on the dollar to get Dubnyk some quality start time and the Oilers rid of a $14M overpay?

Hey, the Oilers defeated the Avalanche, 5-1 last night.  You know who was tending goal?

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