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Anton Khudobin had a bounce-back season in 2017-2018

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The Bruins needed a reliable back-up, and they got it — for the most part.

Boston Bruins v Toronto Maple Leafs - Game Four

After a disastrous 2016-17 campaign, Anton Khudobin was looking to have a serious bounceback year heading into last season.

In 2016-2017, Khudobin needed to battle with Zane McIntyre and Malcolm Subban, who each saw time in the NHL that season, to keep his role as Tuukka Rask’s backup.

He owned a 2.64 GAA and .904 save percentage, unsightly numbers that placed the onus on the Bruins’ offense to score many goals whenever he was between the pipes. Out for his 13 starts that season, only 5 were rated as quality starts, equating to a brutal .357 percent.

It was the lack of viable backup goaltending option that forced the coaching staff to overuse Rask, eventually tiring him out and making him susceptible to nagging injuries.

Khudobin’s 2017-18 was much better, as he helped alleviate all of the pressure from Rask and piece together solid performances between the pipes. His save percentage and goals against average both improved, and he was rewarded for his efforts by getting double the opportunities to command the net.

The veteran goaltender’s GSAA (goals saved above average) increased from a putrid -3.95 to 0.89 in his two seasons with the black and gold. He transformed from a liability who the Bruins would need to alter their game plan around to a goaltender who the team could call upon to help win them games.

His numbers were not jaw-dropping; however he could help give Rask some rest and back-wall the possession-happy Bruins to wins. He had some spectacular starts, and had others where he was clearly returning back to Earth. On the whole, he was solid. That’s all Bruce Cassidy can ask for.

Khudobin and Don Sweeney could not find common ground on a deal this summer, so the Kazakhstan product will join the Dallas Stars this coming season. He will be replaced by Jaroslav Halak, who will hope to replicate or improve upon Khudobin’s performance. Khudobin will be behind Ben Bishop on the depth chart, and is undoubtedly hoping that he can continue on his upward trajectory.

Aggregate grade: B

He did what was asked of him. He performed admirably, especially given his improvement from a year prior. Khudobin is a serviceable backup, and the journeyman would have been welcome again in Boston if money were not an issue.

Khudobin’s 40-save win against the Devils, because the NHL won’t let us embed it: LINK.

Stats

Record: 16-6-7

GAA: 2.56

SV %: .913

SO: 1

Quality Starts: 16