Evgeni Nabokov, 39, went into this season accepting of the fact that his days as a starter were likely over. He signed a one-year, $1.55 million contract with Tampa Bay in hopes of providing Ben Bishop with the solid understudy he lacked in 2013-14. That didn’t work out and today he went unclaimed on waivers.
With 20-year-old Andrei Vasilevskiy expected to serve as the Lightning’s backup for the rest of the season, the question now is if Nabokov will accept an assignment to AHL Syracuse or retire. The answer won’t come for a few days, Nabokov’s agent Don Meehan said, per the Tampa Bay Times’ Joe Smith.
If Nabokov decides to close the books on his playing career, he’ll be finalizing a tenure that included 697 NHL contests with the San Jose Sharks, New York Islanders, and Lightning. He won 353 games and has a career 2.44 GAA and .911 save percentage.
Originally taken in the ninth round of the 1994 NHL Entry, he won the Calder Trophy in 2000-01 and finished second in Vezina Trophy voting in 2007-08.
He had a 3.15 GAA and .882 save percentage in 11 games this season.