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Islanders are expected to let Nabokov walk

Jun 26, 2013, 6:27 PM EDT

nabokovcrosbygetty Getty Images

When the New York Islanders began their relationship with goalie Evgeni Nabokov, he tried his best not to play for the team. Now it sounds like the shoe is on the other foot.

New York Newsday’s Arthur Staple reports that the 37-year-old will probably be allowed to hit the free agent market on July 5, even though the Russian netminder now seems to embrace Long Island.

“We couldn’t find the middle ground right now but I never close the door on anything,” Nabokov said. “That’s where we’re at. I’m still hopeful something will get done.”

Nabokov was a workhorse for the Islanders in 2013, playing in 41 regular season games and six postseason contests. His numbers were lousy in the playoffs (4.44 GAA, .842 save percentage), but he provided solid reliability during the season (2.50 GAA, .910 save percentage).

He could end up being one of the more interesting free agent cases to follow, as his name recognition might help him land a starting gig while his age and other factors may force him to settle for a backup job – among other possibilities.

  1. canucks30 - Jun 26, 2013 at 6:33 PM

    Looks like it’s Luongo time for the Islanders

    • bcisleman - Jun 26, 2013 at 7:01 PM

      Isles won’t take on Luongo’s contract unless Gillis takes RDP’s back. One way to make it work would be for the Isles to also take on Ballard’s deal. That way both teams would just have to buy out one player. The other rub, however, is that Gillis wants big assets back and I do not see Garth offering that. Doubtful about Luongo overall.

      • atwatercrushesokoye - Jun 26, 2013 at 9:57 PM

        There’s talk floating around Calgary that the Flames will take RDP’s contract (and buy him out of course) but the Isles would also be sending along Nino Niederreiter for the Flames to agree to do that. Not really rumors but just talk from some Flames media that something along those lines may go down in the next couple of days.

      • jl9830 - Jun 26, 2013 at 11:50 PM

        In what world would the Islanders give Nino Niederreiter to upgrade from buying out DP themselves to Calgary buying DP out? That’s the dumbest trade proposal ever. Islanders would laugh the Flames off the phone.

      • ray2013 - Jun 27, 2013 at 12:54 AM

        @ jl9830: To buy out DiPietro is $24 million over 16 years. From what I gather, Charles Wang is not a big spender, so he’d want some other team to make that buyout. And no one is going to do it just to help the Isles. So the Isles GM stated they’d be willing to throw in a prospect to sweeten the interest for someone to trade for DiPietro. And as it happens, Nino has apparently asked to be traded, so people put two and two together.

      • atwatercrushesokoye - Jun 27, 2013 at 1:28 AM

        jl9830: as ray2013 states, you underestimate the value of money, the Flames have quite a bit of it right now (although funding the new building and repairing the Saddledome may take a chunk of that) and the Islanders don’t have much of it right now, at least until they move to Brooklyn.

        The trade would essentially be $24 million for Niederreiter, a player who has requested a trade and who the Islanders didn’t even invite to camp this year. Given the current state of the two teams, the Islanders have lots of good prospects and young players but less cash, the Flames have limited prospects (very very limited higher end ones) but plenty of cash, seems like a win win situation.

        Of course with the cabal of Wang, Wang’s kid, Snow and the tiny guy from Entourage manning the Islanders fortunes at the draft you never know what they’ll do, they might just give Nabakov a contract to match DiPietro’s and hope for the best between the two.

    • jpelle82 - Jun 26, 2013 at 8:46 PM

      or miller time

  2. clawedjeroo28 - Jun 26, 2013 at 6:38 PM


    • yougotgirouxed - Jun 27, 2013 at 10:18 AM

      Yes please!

  3. kingcobraman - Jun 26, 2013 at 6:51 PM

    isn’t that the reason the sharks let him go…great during the season and soft in the playoffs… many younger goalies to take the helm …

  4. bcisleman - Jun 26, 2013 at 7:06 PM

    Nabby seems like he’s more of a 1A than a starter. Remember thats what Detroit intended when they brought him back to the NHL.

    Problem likely is that the Isles want to pay him backup money. I see them trading for Hiller or Halak or signing Khudobin in FA. Then, if Nabby has been unable to get a starter’s deal, he may be amenable to a 1A deal on the Island. He has been a good presence in the room, so that might work out best for all.

  5. jimw81 - Jun 26, 2013 at 7:07 PM

    welcome to Philadelphia, Nabokov

    • beavertonsteve - Jun 26, 2013 at 7:28 PM

      Flyers already have a 12 year contract ready for him to sign.

  6. moarjam - Jun 26, 2013 at 7:55 PM

    I think the isles really missed the boat on bernier. He would have been perfect for that team. Young, talented goalie that could grow with a young team. Surely they could have matched the underwhelming package Toronto sent.

    • bcisleman - Jun 26, 2013 at 8:15 PM

      Isles didn’t have a viable backup to send back. Toronto did. End of story.

      • moarjam - Jun 26, 2013 at 11:01 PM

        Ehh I don’t know man. Did Lombardi or Snow come out and say that?

        If they did then fine. I see it. But if not all we are doing is speculating. There are plenty of UFA’s on the market with more experience than Scrivens. I don’t think he was a major factor in the trade but more of an added bonus. But hey I could be completely wrong. I just think bernier would have been great with the isles.

  7. ethanmacleod1685 - Jun 26, 2013 at 8:02 PM

    He is one of my favourite goalies, I can’t figure out what went wrong with him

    • bcisleman - Jun 26, 2013 at 8:16 PM

      Nabby? He got old and in the NHL 37 is old.

  8. deadrabbit79 - Jun 26, 2013 at 8:30 PM

    Anyone but Bryz! Miller, Luongo, but please not Bryz!

  9. 19to77 - Jun 26, 2013 at 11:09 PM

    Halak’s probably on the trading block after his fallout with Hitchcock over starts. Miller’s gotta be up for grabs. Emery as a starter is risky, but surely cheaper than trading for one of those two. I wouldn’t risk Smith, though. He wants too much money and too long a term and before Phoenix he wasn’t even good enough to remain a backup in Tampa – his stats have ballooned because of Dave Tippett and would fall back to Earth without him, same as Bryz.

    • endusersolutions2013 - Jun 27, 2013 at 1:51 PM

      If Emery is willing to accept being a solid part of a goalie tandem, he could be good anywhere. After he had a late in the season “groin” injury, he never played a minute in the playoffs. Some of the games Hawks had a solid lead I would have thought he might have been bring in in the 3rd to give him some time and see how he does.

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