UPDATE: Nabokov has decided not to report to the Islanders.EARLIER: A day after the Detroit Red Wings signed ex-Sharks goalie Evgeni Nabokov, the New York Islanders stole him away by claiming him off waivers this afternoon.
After three straight 40-win seasons with the San Jose Sharks, the team decided to go in a different direction this summer and Nabokov seemed unable to find a starting job or acceptable salary and quickly signed to play in Russia’s KHL.
But after a poor start to the season, Nabokov returned to the United States in December for “family reasons.”
The Tampa Bay Lightning looked to be the most interested team in signing Nabokov at first, but they acquired Dwayne Roloson from the Islanders earlier this month. Detroit surprisingly signed Nabokov yesterday to a tiny deal — in large part because the Red Wings simply don’t have much cap room — but the Red Wings risked losing him on waivers (detailed here).
Sure enough, the Islanders jumped on the opportunity to pick up a veteran goalie on the cheap. It was originally surmised that the Devils, or another team, might claim Nabokov only to trade him back to Detroit, but NHL rules restrict these prearranged trades.
So unless Nabokov decides he doesn’t want to play for the cellar-dwelling Islanders, he’ll be one of the few veteran’s on New York’s roster for the rest of the year.
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