NHL Trade Rumors: Maple Leafs Looking at Nikolai Khabibulin with Oilers?

Anthony ForteContributor IIIApril 1, 2017

EDMONTON, CANADA - FEBRUARY 15: Nikolai Khabibulin #35 of the Edmonton Oilers of the Toronto Maple Leafs on February 15, 2012 at the Rexall Place in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. (Photo by Dale MacMillan/Getty Images)
Dale MacMillan/Getty Images

TSN reported today that the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Edmonton Oilers have had discussions about bringing goaltender Nikolai Khabibulin to Toronto on Monday's trading deadline. 

Khabibulin—a 39-year-old goalie nearing the end of an impressive career—is available, and the Leafs may be looking to add him to the roster as they attempt to make the playoffs for the first time since 2003.

It's no secret that the Leafs goaltenders have struggled lately, allowing 34 goals in the past 10 games. In that stretch, the Leafs have only been able to muster up seven of a possible 20 points and have fallen out of a playoff position in the Eastern Conference. 

The price for Khabibulin wouldn't be too high. Having played in 34 games so far this season with a 12-16 record and a 2.60 goals against average, "Kabs" hasn't been amazing in front of a bottom-feeding team in Edmonton, but he's put forth a commendable effort and thus, the Leafs have expressed interest. 

Khabibulin recently injured his groin and is day-to-day with the injury. He was projected to miss about a week's worth of time when he was initially hurt.

Whether that is in Toronto, Edmonton or another city looking for a goalie, it likely wouldn't affect him all that much. Khabibulin has bounced around the league, playing in Winnipeg, Phoenix, Tampa Bay, Chicago and Edmonton since being drafted by the Winnipeg Jets in 1992.

The rumors confirm that the Leafs are indeed worried about Jonas Gustavsson and James Reimer's performances as of late and the ability the two have to lead this team into the playoffs.

At this time last season, Reimer was putting together a wonderful season with the Leafs, turning them from an Eastern Conference cellar-dweller to a team fighting for a shot at the playoffs.

This year, things haven't gone so smoothly. 

Since teams don't dress three goaltenders every night, fans have to wonder if that means Reimer or "The Monster" Gustavsson will be dealt as well on the deadline. Perhaps Reimer, the younger of the two, would be sent down to the Toronto Marlies of the AHL? Or maybe they would package him in a deal for an offensive playmaker—perhaps Nash?

Well... we are only a few days away from finding the answers to these many questions!