The New York Islanders seemed to argue that they’ll be heard from again despite losing their first-round series against the Pittsburgh Penguins, but that doesn’t mean that the same cast of characters will be back.
While captain Mark Streit might be the biggest offseason question mark, the Islanders face a murky situation in net, as well.
The New York Post reports that the team last spoke to Evgeni Nabokov about a new contract about four weeks ago. The veteran netminder stated that he’d like to return to the team during his exit interview, for one thing.
“I think Garth will make his decision,” Nabokov said. “I told him I would like to stay, but we were fighting for the playoffs and nothing was going on. Now we have to see.”
On one hand, Nabokov was a workhorse goalie for the Isles in 2013. He played in 41 out of the team’s 48 regular season games, going 23-11-7 with a .910 save percentage and 2.50 GAA. Kevin Poulin was the only other netminder to register a win for the team in 2013 (1-3-0 in the regular season).
Still, Nabokov is 37 and had a rough series against the Penguins, sporting a putrid .842 save percentage and 4.44 GAA. While a small sample size of games against a high-powered offense isn’t a fair barometer for what he can do, he isn’t getting any younger and didn’t put up all-world stats in the regular season.
Ultimately, it all comes down to which direction GM Garth Snow wants to go in and what Nabokov demands.