The New York Islanders claimed goalie Evgeni Nabokov off waivers from the Detroit Red Wings Saturday, but the veteran goalie has indicated he will not report to the Isles.
The Islanders now have a choice of suspending the former Sharks star for failing to report, or placing him back on waivers.
Isles GM Garth Snow was still hopeful Nabokov would become an Islander.
“We haven’t talked to the player yet, we’ve left messages,” Snow told TSN. “We’ve booked him a flight out of Oakland and we look forward to having him be a part of our organization.”
Nabokov started the season with SKA St. Petersburg of the KHL after playing the past nine seasons with the Sharks. He was released from his KHL contract in December which made him a free agent.
Detroit signed Nabokov to a deal on Thursday, but because he started the season in the KHL, he would have to pass through waivers before joining the Red Wings.
The Islanders made a smart move to pick up the 35-year-old native of Kazakhstan. They have a need for a proven NHL goalie with Rick DiPietro in and out of the lineup due to injuries. The Isles have gotten inconsistent play from inexperienced backups Nathan Lawson and Kevin Poulin who have split duties after the club traded Dwayne Roloson to Tampa Bay. Lawson suffered a knee injury in last night’s victory over the Sabres.
When he is in midseason form, Nabokov would be considered an upgrade over DiPietro according to most scouts.
In nine NHL seasons with the Sharks, Nabokov had a 297-178-29-37 record with a 2.39 GAA and a .912 save percentage. Although the Sharks won the President’s Trophy with Nabokov in goal and were often Stanley Cup favorites, he has never led the Sharks past the Western Conference Finals.
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