10 Apr 2008
PRINCETON, N.J. – The ECHL on Thursday announced that rookie Anton Khudobin of the Texas Wildcatters is the recipient of the Rbk Hockey Goaltender of the Year award for 2007-08.
He is the first rookie to win the award since Frederic Cloutier in 2001-02 and the seventh rookie selected since the honor began in 1993-94.
The Rbk Hockey Goaltender of the Year award is presented annually to the goaltender adjudged to be the best at his position as determined in a vote of ECHL coaches.
Craig Kowalski of the Gwinnett Gladiators finished second in the voting followed by Cedrick Desjardins of the Cincinnati Cyclones and Daniel Manzato, who played for both the Charlotte Checkers and the Las Vegas Wranglers.
Khudobin, who was named to the ECHL All-Rookie Team and First Team All-ECHL, was 20-1-4 and led ECHL goaltenders with a goals-against average of 1.98 and a save percentage of .934 while finishing tied for third with three shutouts in 27 games with the Wildcatters. The 21 year old has also played in the American Hockey League where he was 2-2-1 with a shutout, a goals-against average of 1.99 and a save percentage of .911 in 12 games for Houston.
Selected in the seventh round (206th overall) by Minnesota in the 2004 NHL Entry Draft and under NHL contract to the Wild, the native of Ust-Kamenogorsk, Kazakhstan was voted to the ECHL All-Star Game after going 10-0-3 with a goals-against average of 1.85 and a save percentage of .938 in his first 14 games.
He posted back-to-back shutouts in his last two regular season starts in the ECHL on Feb. 1 and 12 and made 24 saves in his first postseason start, a 4-1 win over Mississippi on Thursday. In his last six starts he is 6-0-0 with two shutouts, a goals-against average of 1.17 and a save percentage of .964.
Rbk Hockey ECHL Goaltender of the Year Award Winners 2007-08 Anton Khudobin, Texas Wildcatters 2006-07 Adam Berkhoel, Dayton Bombers 2005-06 Matt Underhill, Alaska Aces 2004-05 Chris Madden, Florida Everblades/Long Beach Ice Dogs 2003-04 Scott Stirling, Atlantic City Boardwalk Bullies 2002-03 Alfie Michaud, Peoria Rivermen 2001-02 Frederic Cloutier, Louisiana IceGators 2000-01 Scott Stirling, Trenton Titans 1999-00 Jan Lasak, Hampton Roads Admirals 1998-99 Maxime Gingras, Richmond Renegades 1997-98 Nick Vitucci, Toledo Storm 1996-97 Marc Delorme, Louisiana IceGators 1995-96 Alain Morissette, Louisville RiverFrogs 1994-95 Chris Gordon, Huntington Blizzard 1993-94 Cory Cadden, Knoxville Cherokees
ECHL Celebrating its 20th Anniversary in 2007-08, the ECHL is the Premier ‘AA’ Hockey League and the third-longest tenured professional hockey league behind only the National Hockey League and the American Hockey League.
ECHL began in 1988-89 with five teams in four states and has grown to be a coast-to-coast league with 25 teams playing 900 games in 17 states and British Columbia in 2007-08.
The league officially changed its name to ECHL on May 19, 2003.
The ECHL has affiliations with 26 of the 30 teams in the NHL in 2007-08, marking the 11th consecutive season that the league has had affiliations with at least 20 teams in the NHL.
There have been 355 former ECHL players who have gone on to play in the NHL after playing in the ECHL, including 99 in the last three seasons. There have been 210 former ECHL players who have played their first game in the NHL in the past seven seasons.
There are 15 coaches in the NHL who have ECHL experience including former Wheeling coach Peter Laviolette, who is head coach of the Carolina Hurricanes, and former Mississippi coach Bruce Boudreau, who is head coach of the Washington Capitals.
The ECHL is represented for the seventh consecutive year on the National Hockey League championship team in 2007 with Anaheim assistant coach Dave Farrish, players Francois Beauchemin and George Parros and broadcasters John Ahlers and Steve Carroll.
The ECHL has affiliations with 26 of the 29 teams in the American Hockey League in 2007-08 and for the past 18 years there has been an ECHL player on the Calder Cup champion.
In each of the last two seasons there have been more than 225 players who have played in both the ECHL and the AHL and there were over 800 call-ups involving more than 500 players. In the last five seasons the ECHL has had more call-ups to the AHL than all other professional leagues combined with over 2,000 call-ups involving more than 1,000 players since 2002-03.