Any chance of Evgeni Nabokov’s hot play slipping under the radar probably dissolved on Tuesday night.
The New York Islanders goalie was already producing some excellent work, but another masterful performance against the Philadelphia Flyers should raise his trade value to an even higher level. Nabokov stopped 45 shots as the Isles eked out a 1-0 shootout win against the Flyers. (In fact, Philly couldn’t even top Nabokov in the skills competition as he stopped Daniel Briere and Wayne Simmonds.)
Nabokov’s work against Philadelphia’s top line was impressive alone. Claude Giroux, Scott Hartnell and Jaromir Jagr combined for a staggering 16 shots but couldn’t beat the red-hot Russian a single time.
Nabby’s outstanding run
Nabokov’s strong 2011-12 season has been undermined by playing for the struggling Islanders, but his most recent work is making him extremely difficult to ignore. He’s now 6-1-0 in his last seven games while allowing just eight goals. Nabokov has turned aside 212 out of 220 shots in that span, which translates to a .964 save percentage.
Such amazing play might make some wonder if GM Garth Snow should keep him around, but the context screams trade. He’s already 36 years old and will be an unrestricted free agent after this season, so Nabokov simply makes too much sense as a rental.
It just so happens that his price tag seems to climb with each passing game.