The Carolina Hurricanes signed Anton Khudobin on July 5th, 2013. The Kazakhstan native was signed to a one year, $800,000 contract to be the back-up goalie for the Carolina Hurricanes.
Roughly six and a half months later, Anton Khudobin is 9-3-0 with a 2.13 goals against average and .930 save percentage. He stepped in following Cam Ward‘s injury, and he has established himself as the starting goalie of the Carolina Hurricanes.
Going into the 2013-2014 season, the starting goalie of the Carolina Hurricanes was Cam Ward, and it was his job to lose. Inconsistent play and injuries from Cam Ward has given Anton Khudobin the opportunity to be the starting goalie of the Carolina Hurricanes.
Anton Khudobin is undoubtedly the starting goalie for the Carolina Hurricanes, so when Cam Ward returns, he will have to work to get back into the net consistently.
Jim Rutherford has said that Cam Ward has gotten much stronger mentally through his last injury. The Carolina Hurricanes GM also said that Cam Ward will not be “the guy” when he returns. He will be considered as one of the goalies, not the starter.
When that time comes, I think Anton Khudobin will be the guy if he continues to play well. Cam Ward will get a fair chance to earn starts, but you can’t take a hot goalie like Anton Khudobin out of the net just to give Cam Ward a chance. The Carolina Hurricanes are a playoff contending team, and they can’t make dumb decisions when it comes to the starting goalie. Cam Ward has to be considered as just one of the goalies, not the starting goalie, when he returns.
When Cam Ward returns, it will be very hard, if not impossible, to get all three goalies (Anton Khudobin, Cam Ward, and Justin Peters) in the net consistently. A goalie trade will likely be made by the Carolina Hurricanes before trade deadline, and I think Justin Peters would be the goalie the Carolina Hurricanes will most likely trade, but that could change depending on how well each goalie plays.
This is the make or break year for the Carolina Hurricanes. If the Carolina Hurricanes do not make the playoffs, big changes will be made to the core of this team. The Carolina Hurricanes need to make the right decisions with goalie situation in order to make it to the NHL’s second season.