Though the big news today is the signing of forward Benoit Pouliot, the Bruins made two other moves in free agency today, signing goaltender Anton Khudobin and veteran forward Trent Whitfield to two-year, two-way contracts.
Khudobin was acquired at the trade deadline from the Wild for small blueliner Jeff Penner and vanished-in-Sweden Mikko Lehtonen. Until his acquisition, the P-Bruins stagnated in front of last year's free-agent goaltender signing Nolan Schaefer, often relying on the less-than-stellar skills of Matt Dalton and as-yet too young Michael Hutchinson in net. Although each had their brief good moments, a steady rhythm came with Khudobin in net. He went 9-4-1 in 14 starts, and came in in relief twice for Hutchinson.
Khudobin has a very similar style to Tim Thomas. He's on the smaller side, at 5'11, and has a similar body type to the Bruins' starting netminder. His play favors using his athleticism to make up for lack of style, making for some spectacular-looking saves at times.
The consistency attained by the P-Bruins in the latter half of the season should carry over into next year with Khudobin in net, and will be aided by the signing of Trent Whitfield, as well. Despite missing half the season with an achilles tendon injury last year, the 34-year-old center acted as a mentor for many of the young players in Providence throughout his injury. Upon his return midseason, he immediately made his mark on the scoresheet, putting up 18-18-36 totals in 45 games. He put up 22 points in the month of March alone, earning him AHL Player of the Month honors.
With Jeremy Reich likely signing overseas next season, Whitfield will probably wear the lone captain's 'C'. His continued leadership should definitely be an asset to the baby Bruins, especially considering how young the team is projected to be.