With the resurgence of Cam Ward as a legitimate number 1 goaltender for the Carolina Hurricanes, it leaves open the possibility of a trade involving backup Anton Khudobin. Khudobin, the ex-Bruin, signed a 2-year, $4.5 million contract after his productive 2013-2014 season. While Cam Ward was plagued with multiple injuries, Khudobin filled in nicely and sported a 19-14 record with a 2.30 GAA and a .926 SV%. With Ward’s resurgence this year, Khudobin has, for the most part, been a bystander on the bench. He has played in 9 games, and due to poor offensive production, only sports a 1-8 record. He also has a 2.71 GAA and .903 SV% this year. He is arguably one of the best backup goaltenders in the league and could be traded if GM Ron Francis wants to save cap space in case the Canes want to totally rebuild. I doubt a trade materializes with Anton Khudobin, but if it does, I wouldn’t expect an amazing return. The return could increase if he is bundled with another player of value. A trade could come to fruition if a contender loses one of their goalies to injury as well.
Here are a few mock scenarios:
I went with four scenarios here as a possible trade for Khudobin would be very hard to predict given a lack of rumors and his value at this moment isn’t set in stone due to his lack of playing time.
I do know that Winnipeg has been a little down on Ondrej Pavelec this year, from both a fan point-of-view and from within the organization. He has settled down as the season has progressed, but he could perform at a higher level like he has in the past. The current backup is Michael Hutchinson, a 3rd round pick in 2008 by the Boston Bruins. He is playing well, sporting a 9-3 record, compared to Pavelec’s 10-9. Past rumors have had the Jets searching for another goalie earlier in the season, and if that remains the same through now and the trade deadline, they could be looking for another NHL-level goalie for the future. Khudobin’s contract may or may not be a sticking point depending on what the Jets want to do with their goalies moving forward. I looked at the Jets’ roster and saw Mathieu Perreault, a productive bottom six center that could fit in to a rebuilt Canes roster. I noticed him during his time with the Capitals and the Ducks. He currently has 19 points (9 G, 10 A) this season. I added Shugg from the Hurricanes to add to the Jets’ depth. The pick will help complete the deal and assist in a rebuilding effort.
The mock scenario with the Capitals is far-fetched, I know. It involves big names and big money. The Capitals have not been wowed by former Hurricane Justin Peters as a backup goalie and could use an upgrade. Khudobin would be just that. They are also currently a contender. A return, and change of scenery, for Alexander Semin could bolster the Caps’ scoring depth and reinvigorate Semin’s season. A move back to the nation’s capital might be one of the few places Semin could wind up if he is traded given his history and the Caps’ supposed need for more scoring as they prepare for a possible berth in the postseason. Mike Green, and his $6.25 million contract, could find their ways to Carolina in return. Past rumors of a little unrest in the organization concerning Green could lead to his movement. His contract would be enough to offset the contracts of Khudobin and Semin. The 5th round pick would sweeten the pot a bit. I think Green would help the Hurricanes’ offensive woes and could replace Andrej Sekera is he is moved. This one is amazingly unlikely, but it’s an interesting thought.
The Lightning have Ben Bishop and Evgeny Nabokov as their two NHL goalies this season. Bishop is solid. Nabokov is a 39 year-old backup that is ever-so-close to retiring for good. Adding another solid goalie could be enough to solidify a playoff appearance for the Bolts. I looked at their roster and a couple of names sparked my interest. Brian Boyle and J.T. Brown are different players in different places in their respective careers, but they are both playing on the fourth forward line and have 5 points combined. Their contracts are quite reasonable as well. Boyle is a huge center that would provide immediate power to a lacking Hurricanes squad. Brown is young and could fit in on our fourth line depending on how we rebuild. Brown is also from High Point, NC. Dennis Robertson would add to Tampa Bay’s prospect system and could play in the NHL if needed. Once again, the pick sweetens the pot and helps our rebuild. This trade is also relatively unlikely given the number of NHL roster players involved, but it’s more likely than the above trade with Washington.
I added a fourth scenario here to be a little more realistic. In my opinion, Khudobin by himself doesn’t have a super high value. He could maybe return a prospect and a pick. So that’s what we have here. The Flyers are currently sporting Steve Mason and Ray Emery as their NHL goalies. Mason is a solid NHL goalie, but Emery is quickly fading. A little change could help the Flyers progress towards the playoffs. In this scenario, the Canes would see the return of Mark Alt, who was originally drafted by the Canes in the 2nd round of the 2010 NHL Entry Draft. He is a quality AHL defenseman with NHL potential. He has been hampered by injuries so far this season, however. The second round pick I included could be a third rounder if this trade were to go through, but I’m hoping for the best. The Canes need more defense and the Flyers have an excess in that department. The pick will most certainly bolster our prospect system for the future. This trade, or a trade like it, is more likely to happen than the others.
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Again, I doubt Khudobin gets traded. I’m not sure his value is enough to warrant moving him, but pairing him with another piece could do the trick. Cam Ward could also be traded, but we are riding his wave of quality goaltending at the moment. It all depends on how Ron Francis wants to proceed with the team next year and into the future.