World-class goaltender Evgeni Nabokov is set to suit up for
SKA St. Petersburg of the KHL for the next four years. Whatever the NHL offered him, it could not compete with the long-term security package that SKA is providing.
$24 million for the next four years, it’s hard to compete with that. We can imagine
that some NHL GM’s did send Nabby some two- or even maybe three-year deals, a few of
them likely in the $4.5-$5M a year range as well. However when you look at the
place where his career is and you then compare both deals, there really was no
comparison. It was a 100% win for Nabby and the long-term deal the KHL offered,
ensured what is most important for him now, security for him and his family.
Seeing how Nabby did take the deal and he is now basically
showing the cold shoulder to the shining light of the NHL, this also
illuminates a bit of the head space that Nabby is likely in. Leaving the NHL
behind means he is giving up on his chance to win the Stanley Cup. Who knows
what caliber of NHL clubs made him offers, still, when you leave the NHL you
are in parallel leaving behind your dreams that brought you into the NHL in the
For some ex-NHL’ers heading to the KHL it isn’t the same
thing. Some of them first fulfilled their dreams, Jaromir Jagr being the best
example, only to then pick the money over the need to chase something that they
have already attained. For most though, going to the KHL is a sign that their
internal competitive fire has been snuffed. Nabokov joins former NHL’ers
Sergei Zubov, Darius Kasparaitis, Alexei Yashin and Sergei Brylin.