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Evgeni Nabokov’s trade value is skyrocketing

Feb 7, 2012, 10:05 PM EDT

lookupnabby AP

Any chance of Evgeni Nabokov‘s hot play slipping under the radar probably dissolved on Tuesday night.

The New York Islanders goalie was already producing some excellent work, but another masterful performance against the Philadelphia Flyers should raise his trade value to an even higher level. Nabokov stopped 45 shots as the Isles eked out a 1-0 shootout win against the Flyers. (In fact, Philly couldn’t even top Nabokov in the skills competition as he stopped Daniel Briere and Wayne Simmonds.)

Nabokov’s work against Philadelphia’s top line was impressive alone. Claude Giroux, Scott Hartnell and Jaromir Jagr combined for a staggering 16 shots but couldn’t beat the red-hot Russian a single time.

Nabby’s outstanding run

Nabokov’s strong 2011-12 season has been undermined by playing for the struggling Islanders, but his most recent work is making him extremely difficult to ignore. He’s now 6-1-0 in his last seven games while allowing just eight goals. Nabokov has turned aside 212 out of 220 shots in that span, which translates to a .964 save percentage.

Such amazing play might make some wonder if GM Garth Snow should keep him around, but the context screams trade. He’s already 36 years old and will be an unrestricted free agent after this season, so Nabokov simply makes too much sense as a rental.

It just so happens that his price tag seems to climb with each passing game.

  1. bcisleman - Feb 7, 2012 at 10:19 PM

    Garth should consider a trade if there is an unbelievable offer. My preference is for him to buy 1-2 quality defensemen who will be under contract. If Isles keep the current pace (6-2-2 last 10), they can make the playoffs. Trade the top picks for a top 4 & a big physical defensive defenseman who can produce points. Isles blueline has only 69 points vs an East playoff team average of 105. Such a trade would give the team the defense and firepower it needs to make the dance.

    • terminalcityhockey - Feb 8, 2012 at 12:46 PM

      Trade your top picks in a trade deadline with few available quality players? Haven’t the Isles been in the basement too long to squander their future for an outside shot at the playoffs?

      • elvispocomo - Feb 8, 2012 at 1:58 PM

        I’d argue they’ve been building for the future for so long that it might be wise to mortgage a small portion of it to fill the gaps they have at the NHL level. They can’t keep drafting top prospects in the draft and yet getting nowhere on the ice. It certainly hasn’t worked for Columbus, but it does show making a move for the sake of it isn’t the right answer either.

        The issue NYI will have is going after players who have an NTC but might be willing to waive it. We certainly saw how happy Nabby was to get picked up by the Isles off waivers when he thought he was going to a contender. They’re going to lose him to free agency in the summer anyways, so they might as well package him to a team that has the need for a player they can use.

        I’d think Detroit would like to have him (although they tend not to give up a lot in trades), Philly is still searching (but doesn’t have much in the way of D-men to spare), Tampa is looking (but same situation as Philly), but Chicago or even Toronto could go for a capable goalie and have spare parts to fit the Isles.

      • bcisleman - Feb 8, 2012 at 2:30 PM

        Isles should try for a top 4 like Kyle Quincey and teammate Shane O’Brien. I think a 2nd upgradable to a 1st if Isles get to the 3rd round would do for Quincey. The 4th rounder obtained from BUF for Ehrhoff’s rights should get O’Brien. Might need to throw a prospect in. Isles need to upgrade on defense anyway.

  2. bcisleman - Feb 7, 2012 at 10:37 PM

    BTW, this was way beyond “masterful”. It was probably the best performance of Nabby’s career and surely the best game anyone has played this year..

    Isles were already playing w/ 5 defensemen and a prospect due to injuries and the Reese went down & it was 4 defensemen and a prospect. After the first period, it was basically target practice for the Flyers. Nabby beat them all. It was the best goaltending I have seen in a long time and I have been watching over 40 years.

  3. 4cupsinarow - Feb 7, 2012 at 10:52 PM

    I’d ride him all the way to the trade deadline before handing the reins to Poulin(don’t want to ever see Montoya in the nets). Nabby has been unreal of late and very good all season. This was just a incredible performance tonight.
    The player I’d trade now would be PA Parenteau. Sell him high ASAP as I don’t see him being worth the money he’ll seek. Use him and a pick(maybe a prospect too) to get us a Shattenkirk type πŸ˜‰

  4. knicks4life - Feb 7, 2012 at 11:07 PM

    I don’t like but lets go islanders

  5. knicks4life - Feb 7, 2012 at 11:08 PM

    Trade him for Sidney Crosby

    • creasemasta41 - Feb 8, 2012 at 3:53 AM

      ya so he can sit in the stands and trade injury stories with dipietro

  6. adirondack77 - Feb 8, 2012 at 8:19 AM

    Isles are quietly moving up toward that last playoff spot and this guy is a big reason why.

  7. merchaholic - Feb 8, 2012 at 9:03 AM

    They would be stupid not to trade him. They either trade him for something or lose him with nothing in return since he’s not going to re-sign with the Islanders. Did you all forget the little fiasco from last year?

    • merchaholic - Feb 8, 2012 at 9:08 AM

      I bet Detroit picks him up. Just like it was suppose to happen last year.

    • bcisleman - Feb 9, 2012 at 3:02 PM

      A lot can change in a year. Nabby now realizes he made a mistake last year and has said he likes the direction the team is going in. Plus the team plays better with him in net. Garth has said he wont trade Nabby and I believe him.

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