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Khudobin says performance earned him starting job last season, not injury

Carolina Hurricanes v New Jersey Devils

NEWARK, NJ - MARCH 08: Anton Khudobin #31 of the Carolina Hurricanes in action against the New Jersey Devils at the Prudential Center on March 8, 2014 in Newark, New Jersey. The Devils defeated the Hurricanes 5-4. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

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Last season was a big one for Carolina Hurricanes goalie Anton Khudobin.

After arriving from Boston as a free agent last summer, he was able to take over the starting job in January after returning from injury.

While his reign as starter was coupled with an injury to incumbent starter Cam Ward, Khudobin tells Alessandro Seren Rosso of The Hockey Writers it was mostly his play that helped him keep the starting job.

“It’s hard to say what was more important, if Ward’s injury or my game,” Khudobin said. “But probably my game, because even if Ward wouldn’t get injured and I wouldn’t play that way, they wouldn’t play me that often. So, maybe it was all this put together. I was injured myself earlier, and some other guys stepped up and played well. Maybe those times I was unlucky. But this time it was the other way around. Injuries never are a good situation for any player, but all went that way.”

That last line is something both he and Ward would agree on.

The pair combined to play in 66 games last season. Khudobin missed two months with a lower-body injury and Ward returned from a season-ending knee injury two seasons ago only to deal with lower-body issues throughout last season. Now the duo is set to compete for the starting job this season provided their bodies don’t betray them.

If there’s something the ‘Canes could use consistently next season it’s solid goaltending. Given how well Khudobin played and how lost in the woods Ward has been, the edge belongs to the Russian.

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