Evgeni Nabokov's San Jose Sharks days are over

nabbygone.jpgEvgeni Nabokov has been with the San Jose Sharks for 10 seasons and for at least nine of those he was the team’s No. 1 starter. What has been rumored in many circles (including PHT) seems to be true now; the 2009-10 season will be the Russian goalie’s last year in teal.

Sharks GM Doug Wilson announced that the team would allow Nabokov to leave the team next week via unrestricted free agency.

Wilson noted a direction in the NHL in which teams have had great success with lower-paid goaltenders, most recently with Chicago winning the Stanley Cup with Antti Niemi, who made $827,000 this season.

“If you look at the trends in this league the last four or five years in particular and the dollars that are dedicated to that position,” he said. “If you’re dedicating $5 or $6 million, that’s coming out of somewhere else.”

Nabokov has been one of the top goalies in the league the past few years, winning an NHL-best 131 games over the past three seasons. He has a 293-215-29 record in 10 seasons with the Sharks, with a 2.39 goals against average.

Nabokov went 44-26 with a 2.43 goals against average last season, helping the Sharks reach the Western Conference final this year, where they were swept by Chicago.

I can’t help but agree with the idea that cheaper goaltending is the way to go. After all, you really never know with goalies. You know the position is in a state of confusion when supposed no-brainer greats such as Roberto Luongo are being thrown under the bus.

No doubt, bad goaltending can harpoon even on a dominant team’s dreams; the thing is, reputation and salary only seem to hurt a goalie. At least, that’s the way it seems as of late. Just look at the goalies who had the most success in the playoffs: from Tuukka Rask to Craig Anderson, Michael Leighton and – of course – Antti Niemi, none of them made more than $2 million this year. None of them were odds-on favorites to be anything more than doormats or backups (or minor leaguers) with their clubs. Instead, they helped their teams earn unexpectedly deep playoff runs on the cheap.

Still, I get the feeling someone, somewhere will give Nabokov a very nice payday. Although Nabby won’t turn 35 until July 25, he’ll count as a 35+ contract because his new deal will kick in October instead. That could cause some problems for teams trying to make his deal more cap-friendly. Which makes me wonder, would a big chunk of change and some closer-to-home-cooking draw him to the KHL? It’s nothing more than a question – I haven’t read anything concrete about it – but it does make you wonder, doesn’t it?

Either way, Sharks fans might want to pack up their Nabokov jerseys right about now. It’s the end of an era for the goalie and his close-but-not-cigar squad.

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    Lightning keep dealing, send Filppula to Flyers for Mark Streit

    TAMPA, FL - OCTOBER 18:  Valtteri Filppula #51 of the Tampa Bay Lightning backhands a shot against Florida Panthers during the overtime period at the Amalie Arena on October 18, 2016 in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Mike Carlson/Getty Images)
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    With the Tampa Bay Lightning mired in a disappointing season, general manager Steve Yzerman has spent the past couple of days selling off his upcoming free agents, including Ben Bishop to Los Angeles and Brian Boyle to Toronto.

    On Wednesday, he managed to clear a significant amount of salary cap space for next season.

    That is when the Lightning sent forward Valtteri Filppula, a 2017 fourth-round pick, and a conditional 2017 seventh-round pick, to the Philadelphia Flyers in exchange for defenseman Mark Streit.

    Both players had no-trade clauses in their contracts and had to OK the deal. It came after it was reported that Filppula had rejected a trade to Toronto. Streit is an unrestricted free agent after this season. The Flyers are also picking up 10 percent of Streit’s remaining contract for this season.

    The key to this deal for Tampa Bay should seem pretty obvious: Clearing salary cap space in the future.

    He is having a nice enough season for the Lightning offensively with 34 points in 59 games, but he still carries a $5 million salary cap hit for next season. That presented a significant problem for a Lightning team that has a ton of key players in need of new contracts — including restricted free agents Tyler Johnson, Ondrej Palat and Jonathan Drouin — and not a lot of cap space to take care of them all. The Lightning needed to find a way to shed some salary to ensure they can keep them.

    With Streit’s contract expiring after this season, the Lightning just opened up $5 million in cap space for next season and all Yzerman had to do was give up a couple of late round draft picks to do it.

    The Flyers, meanwhile, have spent their deadline day adding a lot of salary to next year’s cap. Along with picking up Filppula’s deal, they also re-signed forward Piere-Edouard Bellemare and goalie Michal Neuvirth to two-year contract extensions.

    PHT’s 2017 Trade Deadline Tracker

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    Here’s the full list of deals made prior to the Wednesday, March 1 3 p.m. EST trade deadline..

    Mar. 1

    To Tampa Bay: D Mark Streit
    To Philadelphia: F Valtteri Filppula, ’17 4th-round pick, ’17 conditional 7th-round pick (link)

    To Montreal: F Andreas Martinsen
    To Colorado: F Sven Andrighetto (link)

    To Columbus: D Kyle Quincey
    To New Jersey: D Dalton Prout (link)

    To New York Rangers: F Taylor Beck
    To Edmonton Oilers: F Justin Fontaine (link)

    To Tampa Bay: G Mike McKenna
    To Florida: G Adam Wilcox (link)

    To Los Angeles: F Jarome Iginla
    To Colorado: ’18 conditional 4th-round pick (link)

    To Montreal: F Dwight King
    To Los Angeles: ’18 4th-round pick (link)

    To Florida: F Thomas Vanek
    To Detroit: ’17 3rd-round pick, D Dylan McIlrath (link)

    To Colorado: G Joe Cannata
    To Washington: D Cody Corbett (link)

    To Colorado: F Brendan Ranford
    To Arizona: F Joe Whitney (link)

    Feb. 28

    To Montreal: F Steve Ott
    To Detroit: ’18 6th-round pick (link)

    To San Jose: F Jannik Hansen
    To Vancouver: F Nikolay Goldobin, ’17 conditional 4th-round pick (link)

    To Edmonton: F David Desharnais
    To Montreal: D Brandon Davidson (link)

    To Chicago: D Johnny Oduya
    To Dallas: F Mark McNeill, ’18 conditional 4th-round pick (link)

    To New York Rangers: F Daniel Catenacci
    To Buffalo: D Mat Bodie (link)

    To Ottawa: F Viktor Stalberg
    To Carolina: ’17 3rd-round pick (link)

    To New York Rangers: D Brendan Smith
    To Detroit: ’17 3rd-round pick, ’18 2nd-round pick (link)

    Feb. 27

    To Washington: D Kevin Shattenkirk, G Pheonix Copley
    To St. Louis: F Zach Sanford, F Brad Malone, ’17 1st-round pick, ’19 conditional 2nd-round pick (link)

    To Ottawa: F Alex Burrows
    To Vancouver: F Jonathan Dahlen (link)

    To Montreal: D Jordie Benn
    To Dallas: D Greg Pateryn, ’17 4th-round pick (link)

    To Toronto: F Brian Boyle
    To Tampa Bay: F Byron Froese, ’17 2nd-round pick (link)

    To Arizona: F Teemu Pulkkinen
    To Minnesota: Future considerations (link)

    Feb. 26

    To Minnesota: F Martin Hanzal, F Ryan White, ’17 4th-round pick
    To Arizona: ’17 1st-round pick, ’18 2nd-round pick, ’19 conditional 4th-round pick, F Grayson Downing (link)

    To Los Angeles: G Ben Bishop, ’17 5th-round pick
    To Tampa Bay: G Peter Budaj, D Erik Cernak, ’17 7th-round pick, ’17 conditional pick (link)

    Feb. 24

    To Anaheim: F Patrick Eaves
    To Dallas: ’17 conditional 2nd-round pick (link)

    To Chicago: F Tomas Jurco
    To Detroit: ’17 3rd-round pick (link)

    Feb. 23

    To Pittsburgh: D Ron Hainsey
    To Carolina: F Danny Kristo, ’17 2nd-round pick (link)

    Feb. 20

    To Calgary: D Michael Stone
    To Arizona: ’18 3rd-round pick, ’18 conditional 5th-round pick (link)

    Feb. 18

    To Toronto: F Sergey Kalinin
    To New Jersey: D Viktor Loov (link)

    Feb. 15

    To Washington: D Tom Gilbert
    To Los Angeles: ’17 conditional 5th-round pick (link)

    Feb. 4

    To Nashville: F Vernon Fiddler
    To New Jersey: ’17 4th-round pick (link)

    Hansen adds more speed to Sharks, who were already faster

    RALEIGH, NC - JANUARY 16: Jannick Hansen #36 of the Vancouver Canucks carries a puck during their NHL game against the Carolina Hurricanes at PNC Arena on January 16, 2015 in Raleigh, North Carolina. (Photo by Gregg Forwerck/NHLI via Getty Images)
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    The San Jose Sharks couldn’t handle the Pittsburgh Penguins’ speed.

    And so, after losing the Stanley Cup Final in six games, the Sharks decided they had to get faster.

    First came the signing of winger Mikkel Boedker, whose “tremendous speed is his best attribute,” said GM Doug Wilson on July 1.

    The Sharks also signed defenseman David Schlemko, who brought “puck-movement speed” to the third pairing, in the words of head coach Pete DeBoer. 

    Then, when the season started, there was a quasi-youth movement, as players like Kevin Labanc and Timo Meier received opportunities with the big club.

    And finally, last night, the Sharks acquired right winger Jannik Hansen in a trade that sent Nikolay Goldobin to Vancouver.

    “Jannik is a versatile, gritty player who plays with speed and is talented on both sides of the puck,” said Wilson. “We think he is a perfect fit for the style of our team, which has earned the right for us to make this move and add to our NHL roster as we push towards the playoffs.”

    Wilson probably undersold Hansen’s speed a touch. Even at 30 years old, Hansen is still very fast.

    Where DeBoer puts his newest player remains to be seen. On the third line with Tomas Hertl is one possibility. That could bump Joel Ward down to the fourth line, which may be a better spot for the 36-year-old who’s struggled offensively this season.

    The thing about Hansen is that he’s versatile enough to play up and down the lineup. In Vancouver, he started out as a checker. Eventually, he was skating with the Sedins on the top scoring line.

    The Sharks’ next game is tomorrow at home against, of all teams, the Vancouver Canucks.

    Related: The Penguins played great defense their own way

    Bulking up: Canadiens add more size with acquisition of Andreas Martinsen from Colorado

    DENVER, CO - MARCH 09:  Andreas Martinsen #27 of the Colorado Avalanche celebrates as he scores a goal against the Anaheim Ducks to take a 2-0 lead in the second period at Pepsi Center on March 9, 2016 in Denver, Colorado.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
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    It seems like the Montreal Canadiens are on a mission to get bigger and heavier before the trade deadline.

    They’ve already acquired Jordie Benn, Brandon Davidson and Dwight King and just moments ago, they shipped speedster Sven Andrighetto to Colorado for Andreas Martinsen, who’s listed at 6-foot-3, 220 pounds.

    Martinsen is in his second season in the NHL, after spending three years in the German League. The 26-year-old has three goals, four assists and 32 penalty minutes in 55 games in 2016-17.

    He’ll be an unrestricted free agent at the end of this season.

    In Andrighetto, the Avs are getting a quick forward with skill, who just hasn’t been able to land a regular gig with the Habs.

    The 23-year-old has eight goals and 22 points in 20 AHL games and two goals and six assists in 27 NHL games.

    A change of scenery may do Andrighetto some good. His former teammate, Mark Barberio, has been getting some significant ice time since being claimed off waivers by Colorado.