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Nikolai Khabibulin replaces Ray Emery with Blackhawks

Getty ImagesNikolai Khabibulin will be 40 next January, entering what could be the final seasons of his lengthy career. He wasn’t going to be a starter again in the NHL, but has shown enough in the last two seasons with Edmonton Oilers that he can be a competent backup – especially on a team with some semblance of defense.

Say, the Chicago Blackhawks have defense ...

Enough, in fact, that backup goalie Ray Emery went 17-1-0 in 21 games last season with a 1.94 GAA. It’s no slight to Emery to say that the Blackhawks gave a very good goalie incredible numbers.

Now it’s Khabibulin’s turn to get that support. Again.

Khabibulin signed a 1-year, $2-million contract with the Blackhawks to back up Corey Crawford, returning to a franchise he played for from 2005-2009, before leaving for the Edmonton Oilers.

Crawford established himself as the starter in winning the Stanley Cup. The Bulin Wall doesn’t have much left to offer beyond spot starts. It’s a good fit for both.

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