EDMONTON - It appears as though the Edmonton Oilers will welcome Nikolai Khabibulin back after he serves time in an Arizona correctional facility.
On Tuesday, the Oilers goaltender dropped his appeal of a driving under the influence conviction and will spend 15 days jail starting Saturday, before having his movements monitored with an ankle bracelet for an additional 15 days. He was also order to pay a fine and required to participate in an alcohol addictions program.
“The Oilers respectfully accept the court’s order and expect Nikolai to fulfill all of his required obligations prior to training camp,” said Oilers general manager Steve Tambellini in a brief statement.
Khabibulin, 38, played in 47 games with the Oilers last season, posting a 10-32-4 record with a 3.40 goals against average and a .890 save percentage.
The native of Sverdlovsk, Ukraine, will be entering the third year of a four-year contract with the Oilers that pays him $3.75 million per season.
Khabibulin was arrested after being pulled over on Feb. 8, 2010 for speeding. A blood alcohol test revealed he was driving at twice over the legal limit.
At the time Khabibulin was recovering from back surgery and was not playing with the Oilers. He was limited to just 18 games that season, posting a 7-9-2 record with a 3.03 goals against average and .909 save percentage.
Khabibulin was convicted of extreme DUI last August and was sentenced to 30 days in jail. The goaltender appealed his conviction, allowing him to play last season.
It is not known whether Khabibulin will face league sanctions due to his conviction. It’s also not certain how, or if, it will affect his ability to move freely across the boarder.
Khabibulin is expected to share goaltending duties with Devan Dubnyk this upcoming season.
While he was not available for comment Tuesday, Khabibulin did release a statement through his lawyer.
“I readily accept the lawful sentence which has been imposed by the Scottsdale Municipal Court. Once completed, I eagerly anticipate a timely return to Edmonton for training camp, where I will strive to be the best player, teammate and citizen possible.”
Born: Sverdlovsk, Ukraine
Drafted: Winnipeg Jets, Ninth round - 204 overall - 1992 Entry Draft
NHL Experience: 15 years (Jets, Coyotes, Lightning, Blackhawks, Oilers).
Current Contract: Signed four-year, $3.75-million per year contract prior to 2009-2010 season. ($3.75-million cap hit).