Stanley Cup-winning goalie Nikolai Khabibulin signed a four-year, $27 million contract with the Chicago Blackhawks yesterday, leaving the defending champion Tampa Bay Lightning.
Khabibulin played in 55 regular season games for the Lightning in 2003-04, posting a 28-19-7 record with three shutouts, a 2.33 goals against average and a .910 save percentage.
The 32-year-old Khabibulin is 209-187-58 with 35 shutouts and a 2.61 goals against average for Winnipeg/Phoenix and Tampa Bay during his nine NHL seasons. He is 31-25 with six shutouts in the playoffs.
"It's quite an offer, quite a contract that he received," Tampa Bay General Manager Jay Feaster said. "It's something that we couldn't match . . . in order for us to try to what we have to do to keep this team together as much as we can."
* KARIYA TO NASHVILLE: Paul Kariya signed with the Predators, the left winger's third team in three seasons. With Colorado, Kariya had career lows in goals and points in an injury-plagued season that limited him to just 51 games.
* MORE MOVES: Former Caps first-round draft pick, Jason Allison, who most recently played in Los Angeles, signed a one-year contract with Toronto. He missed most of the 2002-03 season and all of the following year because of a neck injury and concussion. . . . The Colorado Avalanche signed forward Brad May to a two-year deal; Edmonton re-signed goaltender Jussi Markkanen and defenseman Igor Ulanov; the Vancouver Canucks re-signed center Brendan Morrison.
* LEMIEUX KEEPS MAJORITY: In an about-face brought about partly by the team drafting Canadian super prospect Sidney Crosby, the Penguins said that Mario Lemieux's group will retain its majority ownership. William "Boots" DelBiaggio, a San Jose-based businessman who was to buy a majority stake, will instead buy a minority share. Lemieux did not comment about the change in plans, which may have resulted from some of his minority partners deciding the franchise was worth more than DelBiaggio planned to pay.