Just over a year ago, Evgeni Nabokov refused to report to the New York Islanders. Today we learn from Newsday’s Arthur Staples that the veteran goalie has signed a one-year extension to stay with the team.
TSN’s Bob McKenzie reports Nabokov’s deal is for $2.75 million and does not include a no-movement clause.
“I’m thrilled to commit to this team for next season,” Nabokov said in a press release. “We have a great group in the locker room of young, talented players and we’re heading in the right direction. I’m excited to have the chance to help get this team back to the playoffs.”
Nabokov, 36, is 17-18-3 with a 2.56 goals-against average and .912 save percentage.
What this means for the other Isles goalies is unclear. Al Montoya can become an unrestricted free agent on July 1. Rick DiPietro (definitely not a pending UFA) is out for the season after having sports-hernia surgery. They’ve also got Kevin Poulin and Anders Nilsson waiting in the wings.
That Nabokov chose to re-up might surprise some. He’s never won a Stanley Cup and probably won’t next season if he stays with the Isles past the trade deadline. On the other hand, is there anywhere he could start with a chance to win the Cup? The Blackhawks might be interested in a veteran backup as an insurance policy for Corey Crawford, but they’re going to give Crawford every opportunity to start. Tampa Bay will likely go after a young goalie this summer. Otherwise the contenders are all set between the pipes.
Plus Nabokov seems to be happy on Long Island, and we hear happiness is important in life.