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Nabokov signs one-year extension with Isles

Mar 21, 2012, 12:29 PM EDT

Evgeni Nabokov Getty Images

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.

  1. jpelle82 - Mar 21, 2012 at 12:45 PM

    “What this means for the other Isles goalies is unclear.” has there ever been clarity over there? they should be used to it by now.

  2. islandersfan - Mar 21, 2012 at 12:55 PM

    1st off – Yay! welcome back Nabakov!

    2nd – I think it means a bit more clarity in net for us. I love Montoya and wish him well but he and Nabakov were both basically filling the same “veteran presence” role in net. Only one is needed, let Montoya go to the market and get a payday of whatever fashion and we are all good there. Dipietro may be on the roster still but we all know his next comeback is only going to last a month anyways (and that will probably be the month we go on a losing streak). Relying on him is not worth it.

    Meanwhile Poulin and Nilsson are the young future. Personally I love Poulin but with prospects it is always better to have more than less. Maybe they can take turns backing up Nabakov this next year?

    • bcisleman - Mar 21, 2012 at 2:33 PM

      We need both Nabby and Al. Two things. First, while Poulin and Nilsson have b oth shown promise, they have also both shown signs that they need more time to develop. HL was developed 5 years in the SEL before he ever saw MSG. Sign Montoya to a one year extension as well and Give Poulin and Nilsson another year. They can get callups from time to time.

      Second, Al is not really a veteran. His play with the Isles has been his first significant NHL experience and it has been marred by injuries. He deserves a chance to prove that he can be the Isles goaltender of the future.

      As to RDP, the new CBA may allow the Isles to dump his contract. In any event, I suspect his days as an Isle are numbered.

      And as to the Isles Cup chances with Nabby next year, they might just surprise everyone.

      • islandersfan - Mar 21, 2012 at 3:07 PM

        I can deal with that idea, but don’t get too caught up with the idea that Dipietro’s days are numbered. The current CBA gives the isles the ability to buy him out and they have not. Talk of an amnesty clause is I think a bargaining chip, nothing more

        For the cup chances I think we agree, this team is very talented but also young that makes them hard to predict. Until last week we were 5 pts from the playoffs … next year we could very likely break through :)

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