Former San Jose Sharks goalie Evgeni Nabokov, 35, returned to the United States earlier this month after a brief stint in Russia’s Kontinental Hockey League this season. Apparently Nabokov wanted to return to the US for family reasons and his release was mutually consented by the player and his KHL club, SKA St. Petersburg.
Still, Nabokov, has a very strong NHL track record and has garnered interest from four NHL teams: the Philadelphia Flyers, Minnesota Wild, Washington Capitals and Tampa Bay Lightning.
The Lightning seem to be the best fit for Nabokov as they’ve been in the playoff picture thus far this season despite being ranked 27th in goals against, thanks in large part to lackluster play from their goalies.
According to Nabokov’s father, the Lightning is his top choice.
However, NHL teams might be slow to sign Nabokov because if he signs a contract he’ll have to clear waivers, where he could be stolen away by another club.
Nabokov had won more than 40 games in each of the last three seasons with the Sharks, but the team decided to go in another direction in goal this summer when Nabokov hit free agency both to save money and to shake things up for a franchise that annually disappoints in the postseason.
Nabokov quietly decided to play in Russia, as NHL teams seemed unwilling to meet his contract demands and give him a starting job. He made 22 starts in the KHL this year but had only eight wins with a .888 save percentage and a 3.02 goals against average.
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