By Kyle Shohara
One thing you must know about veteran goaltender (and new Duck) Anton Khudobin: The man loves his Girl Scout Cookies. For proof, check out this entertaining video (courtesy of CarolinaHurricanes.com) of him and former Carolina Hurricanes teammate Andrej Nestrasil trying the delectable treats for the first time.
“Mmmmmm,” Khudobin said, as he bit into a Caramel deLite/Samoa. “It tastes like a Twix. These are mine now.”
The video was shot this past March in what was undoubtedly a down year (statistically speaking) for the affable netminder from Ust-Kamenogorsk, Kazakhstan. The 29-year-old finished his second (and final) season in Carolina with an 8-17-6 record, including one shutout, a 2.72 goals-against average and .900 save percentage in 34 games. Khudobin did tie a career high with a six-game winning streak from Dec. 23-Jan. 27 (6-0-0, second time) and set a personal best with seven straight games without a regulation loss from Dec. 23-Feb. 3 (6-0-1).
The acquisition of Khudobin for defenseman James Wisniewski on June 27 ignited much speculation regarding the status of current goaltenders Frederik Andersen and John Gibson, a topic Ducks Executive Vice President & General Manager Bob Murray immediately addressed.
“You make a deal and everyone assumes one of the two [goaltenders] is going,” Murray said. “Maybe everybody should look back at last year and what went on, the [complications] that were created with the injuries to these two guys. The ways we tried to fix them didn’t work. This way, we’re covered right now. I have no idea how it’s going to play out to start, but I know I have my backend covered now.”
Those complications included a cross-country, crack-of-dawn journey for a weary-eyed Jason LaBarbera, who was originally scheduled to backup Gibson on Nov. 2 at Colorado, but got pegged as the game’s starter when the rookie netminder injured himself in pregame warm ups. Dwayne Roloson, the club’s goaltending consultant, served as LaBarbera’s backup.
Khudobin comes to Anaheim with plenty of NHL experience, having also spent two seasons with the Boston Bruins (2011-13) and Minnesota Wild (2009-11), the team that selected him in the seventh round (206th overall) of the 2004 NHL Draft.
In all, the 5-11, 203-pound goaltender has posted a 41-36-8 record with four shutouts, a 2.40 GAA and .919 SV% in 91 career NHL games. His best season was in 2013-14, when he established career highs in wins (19), appearances (36), GAA (2.30), SV% (.926) and minutes played (2,084).
And on the international stage, Khudobin, whose nickname was “Dobby” in Carolina, led Russia to back-to-back silver medals at the 2005 and 2006 IIHF World Junior Championships and gold at the 2004 IIHF Under-18 World Junior Championship.
Khudobin’s lone shutout of the season came in the form of a 28-save performance on Feb. 27 vs. Washington. After facing only four shots through the game's opening 20 minutes, Khudobin stopped 24 in the second and third periods in the 3-0 victory.
Perhaps his best save of the game occurred at the 12:39 mark of the second period when he lunged to his right to make a blocker save on a trailing Mike Green, who hammered a one-timer from teammate Andre Burakovsky.