Isles Claim Evgeni Nabokov

In a move that was speculated widely over the last few days, free agent netminder Evgeni Nabokov has been claimed by the New York Islanders.

Nabokov, who recently signed a one year deal with the Detroit Red Wings had to clear waivers before he could report due to playing in Europe. The Islanders suddenly found themselves in need of a goaltender due to the injury to Nathan Lawson last night in Buffalo. The extent of his injury is undetermined at this time.

Nabokov’s contract is a one year deal, prorated for the rest of the season at a cool $570,000 dollars. The contract also has a no movement clause, and he cannot report to the AHL as he is ineligible because he played in Europe. What’s more, the goaltender cannot be traded without passing through waivers once again, and ANY move would need his consent.

Nabokov played in the Russian KHL for SKA St. Petersburg, before being released from his contract.

In 22 games this season with St. Petersburg, Nabokov posted an 8-8-5 record with a 3.02 goals against average (GAA) and a .888 save percentage (sv%). The Kamenogorsk, Kazakhstan native was drafted in the ninth round, 219th overall, of the 1994 NHL Entry Draft by the San Jose Sharks. In nine NHL seasons with San Jose, Nabokov appeared in 563 games, posting a 293-178-29-37 (W-L-T-OT) record with a 2.39 GAA and a .912 sv%. He also played in 80 NHL playoff games with San Jose, posting a 40-38 record with a 2.29 GAA and a .913 sv%.

Now, Evgeni has very few options should he decide not to report. He can play a decent amount of games for the Islanders, or he can sit home and sulk the rest of the season.

Good for Garth Snow for staking a claim and upgrading his goaltending, he shot himself in the foot earlier this season by trading away pending UFA Dwayne Roloson and forcing Lawson and Poulin to step it in a little too early.

I guess time will tell how this plays out, but my guess is he’ll report.

Michael Schuerlein

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