On the day of the trade deadline, Anton Khudobin
did not expect to be traded.
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The 24-year-old goaltender had gone 19-12-1 with a 2.58 GAA for the Houston Aeros of the AHL, and also made four appearances for the Minnesota Wild. His stint in Minnesota included a 32-save shutout of the Vancouver Canucks, who have scored more goals this season than any other team in the NHL and currently lead the NHL in points with 101.
“[The trade] was actually surprising for me,” Khudobin said. “I didn’t even think about it, I didn’t even expect it. The General Manager of Providence called me and asked if somebody from the Minnesota Wild had called me. And after that I figured I got traded.”
The 5’11”, 199-lb native of Kazakhstan has played well since joining the Providence Bruins, going 4-1-0 with a 2.29 GAA in six appearances. On March 6, he shut out Bridgeport in only his second appearance with his new team.
“Coming here is a good fit, a good team,” Khudobin said. “I met everybody, the coaches, some of the guys, and yes, I’m comfortable with this group of guys.”
Originally drafted by Minnesota in the 7th round (206th overall) of the 2004 NHL Entry Draft, Khudobin first played in North America for the Saskatoon Blades of the WHL in the 2005-06 season. He played the next season in Russia with Metallurg Magnitogorsk before coming to play professionally in the U.S.
“I had to come back because I had a conflict in Russia,” Khudobin said. “So I came back and played one year in Russia and after I said, ‘I’m going to sign next year.’”
Khudobin has played in the AHL with Providence and Houston, and also in the ECHL with the Texas Wildcatters and the Florida Everblades.
After getting 102 AHL games under his belt, Khudobin feels he is ready for the NHL.
“Guys [in the NHL] have more skill than the AHL, guys think faster, guys shoot faster. Everything is pretty much faster,” Khudobin said. “For me, it was actually easier playing in the NHL than the AHL. I think I’ve played enough in the AHL, so I’m ready for the NHL”---Mike Brown