To replace Nabokov, the Isles called up 23-year-old Swedish netminder Anders Nilsson from AHL Bridgeport.
The Nabokov injury comes at a time when New York’s goaltending was in a state of flux. The 38-year-old had slowly been losing his grip on the No. 1 job to Kevin Poulin, but the Nabokov loss is still significant in terms of experience — combined, Pulin and Nilsson have just 26 total NHL starts between them, a far cry from the over 600 Nabokov boasts.
It’ll be interesting to see if Russian netminder’s ailment forces Isles GM Garth Snow to make a move and address the position. Nabokov does have a history of groin issues — he had two long stretches on the shelf during his first year on Long Island.
For now, though, it appears the Isles are content with giving Poulin a shot.
“I think every player that works his way up from the minors, every player who pays his dues, wants that opportunity,” head coach Jack Capuano told Newsday. “Kevin’s no different than Brock Nelson or Aaron Ness or Matt Donovan.
“He’s going to get to play some more hockey in a very different role.”