It seems inevitable that Evgeni Nabokov will be traded sometime during the season. He wants out. The Islanders don’t need three goalies. But where he ends up and what he’s worth remains to be seen.
There are certainly teams that could use the 36-year-old with the measly $570,000 cap hit.
The Columbus Blue Jackets are the most obvious such team, but you have to wonder if Nabokov would waive his no-trade clause to go to that disaster.
Depending on the prognosis for James Reimer, the Leafs could be interested.
Tampa Bay is another candidate given Dwayne Roloson’s shaky start and the fact he’s 42 years old, but would Nabokov be worth the price to upgrade Mathieu Garon?
Even the Blackhawks might be willing to add a veteran goalie as insurance if Corey Crawford and Ray Emery continue their mediocre play. However, that would be a move they make later, and by then Nabokov could be elsewhere.
What could Isles GM Garth Snow get in return? That’s where it gets really interesting. The goalie market is so whacky it’s hard to say. Over here you’ve got Tomas Vokoun making $1.5 million, over here you’ve got Semyon Varlamov getting dealt for a high first and second.
If goalies were cars, Nabokov could be worth anywhere from a Pontiac Aztec to a Maserati Quattroporte.
Snow isn’t about to put the “clearance” tag on Nabokov at this point in the season. If he doesn’t get a good deal now, the trade deadline should bring more opportunities. Maybe a starter gets injured. Maybe a team isn’t quite comfortable with its goaltending heading into the postseason. Nabokov has 80 playoff games under his belt.
Granted, it was his performances in the playoffs that spelled the end of his time in San Jose.
CHICAGO — Blackhawks forward Boris Katchouk will be sidelined for four to six weeks with a left ankle sprain, the team announced.
The 24-year-old Katchouk played almost 12 minutes during a 3-0 preseason loss to Detroit on Saturday night. He was acquired in a multiplayer trade with Tampa Bay in March.
The Blackhawks open the season on Oct. 12 at Colorado.
The team also said forward Jujhar Khaira is day to day with a right ankle injury.
ANAHEIM, Calif. — Ducks defenseman Urho Vaakanainen was taken off the Honda Center ice on a stretcher after he crashed into the end boards in the first period of Anaheim’s preseason game against the San Jose Sharks.
The Finnish defenseman was conscious and alert with full movement in his extremities at UCI Medical Center, the Ducks said.
The frightening incident occurred midway through the opening period when Vaakanainen smashed into the boards at a dangerous speed behind the Sharks’ net. Vaakanainen appeared to be concentrating on the pass he had just made to Derek Grant, who scored the Ducks’ opening goal on the assist.
Vaakanainen’s teammates came onto the ice and gathered around him as he was taken away on the stretcher.
The Ducks acquired the 23-year-old Vaakanainen from Boston last March in the deal that sent longtime Ducks defenseman Hampus Lindholm to the Bruins. After recording two assists in 14 games for the Ducks last season, Vaakanainen is attempting to win a top-six role on Anaheim’s defense this fall.
TAMPA, Fla. — The Tampa Bay Lightning and team owner Jeff Vinik are donating $2 million toward Hurricane Ian relief efforts.
The NHL team announced that $1 million each will be donated by the Tampa Bay Lightning Foundation and the Vinik Family Foundation.
“This is a tragic situation for many families and communities across the state of Florida, but especially so in the southwest region of the state,” Vinik said in a statement released by the team. “In times like these the most important thing we can do is support one another, and we hope this donation will help families recover and rebuild in the months to come.”
Ian made landfall Wednesday on Florida’s Gulf Coast, south of the Tampa Bay area. The Lightning postponed two home preseason games and moved the club’s training camp to Nashville, Tennessee, during the storm.
TORONTO — Rasmus Sandin has signed a two-year, $2.8 million contract with the Toronto Maple Leafs, the club announced on Thursday.
The 22-year-old from Sweden was the 29th overall selection in the 2018 draft. Sandin had 16 points in 51 games with Toronto last season. He’s played in 88 career regular-season games, with six goals and 22 assists, and has one goal in five playoff games.
“Got a great set of tools,” fellow defenseman Jake Muzzin said. “With experience, I think they’re only going to get better.”
The signing comes as the Leafs’ blueliners been hit hard by injuries. Muzzin has been dealing with a back issue, and Timothy Liljegren recently had surgery for a hernia.
Toronto then lost Jamie Benn (groin) and Carl Dahlstrom (shoulder) in Wednesday’s 3-0 preseason victory over the Montreal Canadiens, pressing forwards Calle Jarnkrok and Alexander Kerfoot into defensive roles for two periods.