- © RIA Novosti. Alex Danichev
© RIA Novosti. Alex Danichev
MOSCOW, January 7 (R-Sport) - Anton Khudobin is considering a permanent switch to the KHL when his NHL contract expires in the summer, the Boston Bruins goalie told R-Sport on Monday.
The Kazakh-born Russian has been impressed by the standard of the fledgling league during three months with Moscow region team Atlant, and sees a tricky decision on the horizon.
"I can say that these three months have been simply excellent," Khudobin said.
"In the summer my contract with Boston finishes, and the choice of which league to play is going to be a serious dilemma. I could definitely turn up in the KHL, why not?"
"Here you get really good hockey, it's a really decent league. The KHL is taking confident steps forward, and that's something that's really pleasing."
The NHL's four-month lockout ends this month, meaning Khudobin is contractually obliged to return to North America, for now.
One thing he isn't relishing is the jam-packed schedule waiting for players returning to the NHL, which hopes to squeeze 48 games into 90 days until the playoffs in a shortened season.
"That's a heck of a lot of games, you can't deny it," Khudobin said. "But I guess you can put up with it for three months."
The 26-year-old will hope to improve on his form when he flies back: He has managed just one shutout in 26 games for Atlant, shipping an average of three goals per game.
He defended his performances, saying the results were symptomatic of deeper problems that have left the team languishing in 11th place in the Western Conference, three outside the playoff zone.
"What can you do if they're always tearing through our defense?" he asked. "There's nowhere to hide if they are scoring on five-on-threes or five-on-fours."
Khudobin started his career at Metallurg Magnitogorsk, winning the Russian league in 2007 and departing for North America right after the triumph.
He spent two seasons with the Minnesota Wild before he was traded to Boston in 2011, becoming the backup in the Stanley Cup-winning team.
Khudobin made only one appearance for the Bruins last season, playing at farm club the Providence Bruins