Boston Bruins

By Ty Anderson, 985TheSportsHub.com

After once again emerging as a legitimate go-to option behind Boston starter Tuukka Rask over the last year and a half, it would appear that Bruins backup goaltender Anton Khudobin is leaving for a greater payday elsewhere. Again.

The unofficially official confirmation comes just two days before the start of unrestricted free agency, with Bruins general manager Don Sweeney acknowledging the work that awaits the club when the market opens on Sunday.

“I think we’ll be filling some holes,” Sweeney said of his team’s July 1 plans. “The goaltending one is probably going in a different direction at this point. But I’ve stayed in contact with all of [Boston’s pending free agents].”

It’s believed that the Bruins are simply unwilling to pay the 32-year-old Khudobin at least double his previous salary ($1.2 million per year) on a multi-year deal, even after a 31-game year in which he went 16-6-7 and posted a .913 save percentage.

The news also comes on the heels of some of the market’s other free agent netminder options — Jonathan Bernier, Carter Hutton, and Cam Ward — reportedly making (or coming close to) verbal agreements with new teams. The Bruins had previously reached out to Hutton earlier this week, who was perhaps the best option on the market after a breakout season with the Blues. But they were turned down, as Hutton is seeking the chance to be a starter with his next destination.

“We’ll find out on Sunday where they all land,” Sweeney said.

That a slight blow to the B’s, too, as they have clearly put a lot of stock in legitimate experience from their next backup.

“Very,” Sweeney said when asked about the importance of prior experience. “Ranks right at the top of the list. I think Anton did a fabulous job, and we need to make sure we’re satisfied in that area. It’s a priority for us.”

Other options on the market include veterans such as Kari Lehtonen and Ondrej Pavelec, young reclamation projects like Petr Mrazek and Eddie Lack, or somebody like Jets third-stringer (and former B’s draft pick) Michael Hutchinson.

No matter the next man, they will undoubtedly have big shoes to fill as Khudobin was the perfect backup option for Bruce Cassidy, with a 22-7-7 record and .915 save percentage (23rd-best in the NHL) since Cassidy took over in Feb. 2017.

Ty Anderson is a digital producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Ty? Follow him on Twitter @_TyAnderson.