The first round came to an end yesterday with Alexei Yashin pounding out Dion Phaneuf to claim his spot in the quarterfinals, and today that quarterfinal round begins with two goaltenders who have, according to Tom Awad's GVT calculations, accounted for a combined 16.2 goals below threshhold. These guys are bad, and will duel for your votes, a spot in the semifinals, and an automatic berth in next year's tournament (as if they need it) after the jump.
Rick DiPietro is so bad that he cruised to a 229-73 victory over Ilya Kovalchuk in the first round. That margin may not have been as large as Khabibulin's, but that might have something to do with Khabibulin drawing Antti Niemi in the first round. Now, I understand that Khabibulin's contract is bad, but it's for less money than this here deal and lasts for two years beyond this one. Rick DiPietro's deal lasts for a decade, and while his constantly being injured might soften the blow for some teams (who could stash him on LTIR), the Islanders are a budget team spending 10% of their yearly budget on a player who's either not playing or, even worse, is playing terribly. They could, of course, buy him out this summer and pay the guy $1.5M a year every year until 2030-31 to just have the guy go away. That's $30M over 20 years in dead money, and that might be the best solution. How does that not win?
I mentioned GVT in the preamble this time, and noted that these two goaltenders showed very poorly. Rick DiPietro, for instance, had the fifth-worst score in the NHL this season at -7.4. Nikolai Khabibulin was one of the four players below him. There has apparently been some confusion about the 35+ clause, so let's spell it out. If Khabibulin retires, the cap hit sticks. If he gets bought out, the cap hit sticks. If he goes to play in Europe, the cap hit sticks. If he gets sent to the minors, all but $100,000 sticks. The only way out is termination or trade, and it's a testament to Khabibulin's commitment to being terrible that termination is more likely. I think Benjamin Massey sums up the feelings of many Oiler fans best:
If I wrote a 5,000 word article, and every singe word was "HATE", in a progressively larger and larger font for all of those 5,000 words, and printed off a copy which I set on fire, pissed on to put it out, and shipped it to you, when you opened that package you would not approach a fraction of one percent of the hate I feel for Nikolai Khabibulin.
299 votes total