Nikolai Khabibulin

Trade Bait: Nikolai Khabibulin


The NHL’s trade deadline is Wednesday, April 3. Following is a player that may be moved. For more “Trade Bait,” click here.

Nikolai Khabibulin’s 43-save shutout versus the Blues on Tuesday couldn’t have come at a better time for the Oilers. Not only did Edmonton badly need the win to stay in the playoff race, it was able to showcase a potential trade chip in its veteran goalie.

Khabibulin, 40, is in the final year of a contract that features a salary and cap hit of $3.75 million. Yes, he had hip surgery in April and was forced to start the season on injured reserve, but he’s feeling much better now.

“When your body doesn’t hurt as much, it makes it more fun,” he said last night after being named the game’s first star.

In seven appearances this season, Khabibulin is 3-3-1 with a 1.93 goals-against average and .941 save percentage.

Who might be interested in adding a rental goalie at the deadline? Well…

St. Louis has the worst team save percentage in the NHL (.883).

Free-falling Carolina may want to make a move. Like, right now.

Toronto could use a veteran to guard against another late-season collapse.

And as hard as Blackhawks fans try to convince themselves it’s not, Chicago’s goaltending is still a question mark heading into the playoffs. It was great in January and February; it hasn’t been fantastic in March.

Torres offered in-person hearing, potentially setting up long suspension

Torres hit
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What will Raffi Torres get this time?

The 33-year-old forward that has become known primarily for his controversial hits has once again put himself in the sights of the NHL’s Department of Players Safety. They confirmed that he was offered an in-person hearing following his hit on Jakub Silfverberg Saturday night. He declined the opportunity to meet with them face-to-face, but the offer itself is an important detail because it gives the league the option to suspend him for more than five games.

It certainly seems like the stage is set for a lengthy suspension. For one thing, Torres is a repeat offender who once was banned from 25 games for his hit on Marian Hossa in 2012, although it was later reduced to 21 contests after an appeal. The NHL found that Torres was guilty of breaking three rules for that hit; namely interference, charging, and illegally hitting the head. The NHL is reviewing Torres’ latest incident for the same three violations.

You can see the hit below:

And here it is slowed down:

Torres got a match penalty and Silfverberg left the game. Fortunately, Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau said that Silfverberg could have returned, but was kept out for precautionary reasons.

Flames acquire Freddie Hamilton, brother of Dougie

Freddie Hamilton
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Roughly three months after acquiring Dougie Hamilton, the Calgary Flames have brought his brother on board too.

Freddie Hamilton was pried away from the Colorado Avalanche for the cost a 2016 conditional seventh-round draft pick, per the Avalanche’s website. The Flames announced that he will report to AHL Stockton.

Freddie, who is the older of the two at 23, is a center that excelled offensively in the OHL and has chipped in at the AHL level. However, he has just one point in 29 contests with Colorado and the San Jose Sharks.

This is obviously not a big trade, but perhaps Freddie will eventually become a solid member of the Flames’ supporting cast. If nothing else, it didn’t cost Calgary much to reunite the brothers. The duo previously played together with the Niagara IceDogs.