Chicago Blackhawks goalie Nikolai Khabibulin could be headed to Russia after clearing waivers earlier this week.
In order to shed payroll, the Blackhawks are to prepared to loan their high-priced former all-star to a club in the Continental Hockey League (KHL), Sportsnet has learned.
If a deal is reached, Chicago could knock the value of the final year on Khabibulin’s contract, worth US$6.75 million, off their salary cap. Furthermore, the NHL team could have most if not all of the remaining salary paid by the borrowing club.
Sources say negotiations are ongoing and it has not been determined which KHL team would end up with his services. The inside track may belong to HC Dinamo Minsk in Belarus where it’s believed Khabibulin has family.
Chicago placed Khabibulin on waivers on Monday, but no NHL team was interested in picking him up with the amount owed on his current contract.
Entering the final season of a $27-million, four-year deal, Khabibulin joined the Blackhawks from Tampa Bay as a free agent in 2004 after leading the Lightning to the Stanley Cup. But Chicago signed Cristobal Huet for four years as a free agent this off-season, making Khabibulin expendable.