08
Dec
09

Nikolai Khabibulin

Full name: Nikolai Ivanovich Khabibulin
Team: Chicago Blackhawks
Number: 39
Position: Goaltender
Height: 6’1″/185 cm
Weight: 209 lbs/94 kg
Catches: Left
Born: January 13, 1973 in Ekaterinburg, RUS
Drafted: Selected by Winnipeg Jets in 9th round (204th overall) of the 1992 Entry Draft

Strengths: Nikolai is an aggressive goalie, doing whatever it takes to cut down the shooter’s angles. He plays a butterfly style that forces snipers to shoot high, so that he can work his catching glove. Khabibulin plays best in games that matter the most.

Weaknesses: Nik sometimes has a problem controlling the puck outside of the net and can be prone to cold streaks. He has recently missed significant playing time due to injury.

Biography: Khabibulin grew up with Alexei Yashin in Sverdlovsk (now Ekaterinburg). But who knew that both of them would excel in the National Hockey League? When Nikolai was 14 years of age, he read a book about his childhood idol – Vladislav Tretiak. That motivated him to become a goaltender. During his late teenage years, Nik became increasingly better and transferred from his hometown team to the Central Red Army team in Moscow. Nik played three seasons with CSKA, each year gaining experience. In his last year with CSKA, Khabibulin played in every single game. He was named top goaltender of the 1991 and 1992 World Junior Championships. In 1992, Nik was the third goaltender of the gold medal-winning Unified Team. Coach Viktor Tikhonov unrightfully kept the third goalie’s medal to himself. That is why Khabibulin boycotted the Olympics in 1998. After some minor league experience, Nik joined the Winnipeg Jets and became their starting goaltender. He had more success when the franchise moved to Phoenix. He showed his talent at the 1999 All-Star Game and got the nickname “The Bulin Wall.” Due to a contract dispute, Nik spent the 1999-00 season with the Long Beach Ice Dogs, winning the IHL’s MVP award. In 2001, Khabibulin made a comeback to the NHL, playing for the Tampa Bay Lightning. Nikolai had a spectacular season with the struggling Lightning. He stole many games for the team, and in the 2002 All-Star Game he shut out the North American all-stars. At the 2002 Olympics, Khabibulin played some of his best hockey, including stoning the Czech team in the quarterfinals. Russia won bronze. In 2002-03, Nik started out well, had a poor mid-season, and was unbeaten in 16 games at the end of the season to propel his team to capture their first-ever division title. The next season he had an average regular season, but defied all critics by winning 16 games in the playoffs to win his (and the team’s) first ever Stanley Cup! He spent the NHL lockout season sharing goaltending duties with Fred Brathwaite for Ak Bars Kazan in the Superleague. Being a free agent, Khabibulin signed a multi-year deal with the Chicago Blackhawks in the summer of 2005. After three unspectacular seasons, Khabibulin returned to top form in 2009 to help bring the youthful Blackhawks team as far as the Western Conference finals. In the summer of 2009, Khabibulin signed a four-year contract with the Edmonton Oilers. In 2010, he was arrested for speeding and driving under influence in Arizona and served two weeks of jail time in 2011. Due to injuries and surgery rehabilitation, he missed significant time during his tenure with the Oilers. Although he played for a losing team, Nik was a stable, veteran presence for the young Oilers team. In 2013, he returned to the Chicago Blackhawks.

Club Stats:

Season Team GP W L T OL GAA Save % SO
1988-89 Avtomobilist Sverdlovsk 1 0 0 0 0.00 0
1990-91 Sputnik Nizhny Tagil (USSR-3) 10
1990-91 Avtomobilist Sverdlovsk 2
1991-92 CSKA-2 Moscow (CIS-3) 11
1991-92 CSKA Moscow 2 3.53 0
1992-93 SKA-Metallurg Serov (CIS-2) 18
1992-93 CSKA Moscow 13 3.29
1993-94 CSKA Moscow 46 2.65
1993-94 Russian Penguins (IHL) 12 2 7 2 4.41 87.3 0
1994-95 Springfield (AHL) 23 9 9 3 3.87 87.4 0
1994-95 Winnipeg 26 8 9 4 3.42 89.5 0
1995-96 Winnipeg 53 26 20 3 3.13 90.8 2
1996-97 Phoenix 72 30 33 6 2.83 90.8 7
1997-98 Phoenix 70 30 28 10 2.74 90.0 4
1998-99 Phoenix 63 32 23 7 2.13 92.3 8
1999-00 Long Beach (IHL) 33 21 11 1 1.83 93.0 5
2000-01 Tampa Bay 2 1 1 0 2.92 91.3 0
2001-02 Tampa Bay 70 24 32 10 2.36 92.0 7
2002-03 Tampa Bay 65 30 22 11 2.47 91.1 4
2003-04 Tampa Bay 55 28 19 7 2.33 91.0 3
2004-05 Ak Bars Kazan 24 16 5 3 1.65 5
2005-06 Chicago 50 17 26 6 3.35 88.6 0
2006-07 Chicago 60 25 26 5 2.86 90.2 1
2007-08 Chicago 50 23 20 6 2.63 90.9 2
2008-09 Chicago 42 25 8 7 2.33 91.9 3
2009-10 Edmonton 18 7 9 2 3.03 90.9 0
2010-11 Edmonton 47 10 32 4 3.40 89.0 2
2011-12 Edmonton 40 12 20 7 2.65 91.0 2
2012-13 Edmonton 12 4 6 1 2.54 92.3 1
Totals USSR/RHL Reg. Season 89
Totals RHL Playoffs 5 3.28 0
Totals NHL Reg. Season 795 332 334 58 38 2.72 90.8 46
Totals NHL Playoffs 72 39 31 2.40 91.7 6

National Team Stats:

Year Tournament GP W L T GAA SO
1991 European U18 5 2.73
1992 World U20 6 6 0 0 1.45 2
1992 Olympic Games 0
1993 World U20 6 2 3 1 2.65 2
1996 World Cup 2 0 2 0 6 0
2002 Olympic Games 6 3 2 1 2.34 1
Totals U18 Level 5 2.73
Totals U20 Level 11 8 3 1 3
Totals Senior Level 8 3 4 1 1

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