In reading the headline above, you might think Anton Khudobin was talking about his team’s well-documented struggles.
But he’s not. He’s talking about his own.
Khudobin, acquired at the draft to be Anaheim’s backup netminder this year, has been bumped down to third string after John Gibson usurped Frederik Andersen as the team’s No. 1. That means Khudobin’s now spending a fair bit of time with AHL San Diego — not the ideal spot for a 29-year-old veteran making $2.25 million this season.
“It’s not an easy situation to be in,” Khudobin said, per the O.C. Register.
Given where he was just two seasons ago, Khudobin’s probably surprised where he’s at.
After a good cameo as Tuukka Rask‘s backup in Boston during the lockout-shortened ’13 campaign, Khudobin signed in Carolina on the cheap ($800,000) and emerged as one of the NHL’s best bargains, going 19-14-1 with a .926 save percentage and 2.30 GAA.
That performance netted him a two-year, $4.5M extension from the ‘Canes — a pretty nice raise — but that’s when things started to go south.
Khudobin struggled in his first year of the extension and, as mentioned, was flipped to Anaheim at the draft in exchange for James Wisniewski. With his contract set to expire at season’s end, the plan — as laid out by Ducks GM Bob Murray — was for Khudobin to back up for a year, allowing Gibson further seasoning in the American League.
But, obviously, it’s worked out much differently.
“It’s a hard situation,” Khudobin said. “In that case, somebody has to go. In my mind, if they’re going to find me a place where I can go and play and be on an NHL team, it’s great.
“If not, then I just have to wait until the end of the season.”