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Evgeni Nabokov goes to the Islanders (updated repeatedly)

Per Craig Custance’s Tweet, the New York Islanders have claimed Evgeni Nabokov off waivers from the Detroit Red Wings.

Update 12:04 PM: TSN’s Bob McKenzie and Sportsnet’s Nick Kypreos confirm.

Update 12:06 PM: The CBC’s Scott Morrison and ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun corroborate.

I’ll update the news as it relates to the Red Wings and Ken Holland’s motivation for making the move but as far as Nabokov’s future is concerned, that’s somebody else’s problem (Paul, ha!).  My best guess is that Holland got serious with Don Meehan when Jimmy Howard took a puck off the knee and chose to continue negotiations until their completion for the sakes of both sides.  The Wings would have snagged a cheap insurance policy goalie if he’d cleared and Nabokov gets a fresh start now that he’s been plucked off the waiver wire.

Update 12:11 PM: Long-time Islanders super blogger Chris Botta weighs in on the news.

Update 12:15 PM: From the Islanders, via Paul:

UNIONDALE, NY, January 22, 2010 – The New York Islanders have claimed goaltender Evgeni Nabokov off of waivers. Nabokov will play under the one-year contract that he signed with the Detroit Red Wings on Jan 20.

Nabokov, 35, began this season with SKA St. Petersburg of the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL). According to the NHL Collective Bargaining Agreement, any player that plays in a different professional league before signing an NHL contract must go through waivers before joining the team.

In 22 games this season with St. Petersburg, Nabokov posted an 8-8-5 record with a 3.02 goals against average (GAA) and a .888 save percentage (sv%). The Kamenogorsk, Kazakhstan native was drafted in the ninth round, 219th overall, of the 1994 NHL Entry Draft by the San Jose Sharks. In nine NHL seasons with San Jose, Nabokov appeared in 563 games, posting a 293-178-29-37 (W-L-T-OT) record with a 2.39 GAA and a .912 sv%. He also played in 80 NHL playoff games with San Jose, posting a 40-38 record with a 2.29 GAA and a .913 sv%.

So will he report?  Here’s what Don Meehan, his agent, told MLive’s Ansar Khan on Friday:

Meehan said Nabokov will play regardless of where he ends up, nixing speculation that he would sit out the season if he were claimed by a club for whom he did not want to play.

“He wants to get visibility for next year,” Meehan said.

Update 12:32 PM: For the record, I’m guessing that the Wings will allow Joey MacDonald to continue playing for the Griffins as they wrap up their home-and-still-at-home series against the Chicago Wolves tonight and will recall him after the game.

Update 12:38 PM: Fanhouse’s Adam Gretz and Custance weigh in.

Update 12:40 PM: Ansar Khan, Helene St. James, Ted Kulfan and Chuck Pleiness confirm.  It’ll be interesting to find out Holland’s rationale for making the move knowing that Nabokov would be picked up.

Update 12:53 PM: Yahoo Sports’ Sean Leahy, the Detroit News’s Eric Lacy, ESPN and Bleacher Report’s Matt Hutter (yeah, I know, Bleacher Report, but Hutter’s their dedicated Wings writer and he’s good at what he does) all weigh in.

Update 12:57 PM: Holland Via Khan:

Red Wings general manager Ken Holland said it was “a unique opportunity’’ to acquire a goalie of Nabokov’s caliber, one the club had to explore.

“We tried something,’’ Holland said Saturday. “There was a huge opportunity when you get to sign a player and there’s no acquisition fee, you don’t have to trade anybody, give up any prospects and it’s a low base salary. You never know if it’s going to work until you try it.’‘
...
Holland said he’ll continue to explore opportunities but isn’t specifically seeking a goalie. Osgood is expected to return in early to mid-March after having sports hernia surgery on Jan. 11.

“I didn’t make the move because I was concerned about our goaltending or Chris Osgood’s health,’’ Holland said. “We were exploring a unique opportunity.  Now, we move on.’‘

Holland said Joey MacDonald, who was assigned on Friday to the Grand Rapids Griffins in case Nabokov cleared, will return to Detroit this week and back-up Howard until Osgood is healthy. Jordan Pearce, who was recalled to back-up Howard for today’s game against Chicago, will go back down.

Update 12:59 PM: Here’s Holland via St. James:

“We tried something, and he’s been claimed by another team,” general manager Ken Holland said. “We move on. It’s the nature of the rules and the league.”

Contrary to speculation that a team that claims a player can turn around and trade him to the team that originally wanted the player, that’s not quite so easy. Holland said the Islanders would have to put Nabokov on waivers, giving any other team that might have put in a claim for him first dibs. It is not known whether any other team did put in a claim (the team ranked lowest in the standings gets him). Asked if the chances of getting Nabokov are over, Holland replied, “yep.”
...
Holland said the Wings will continue to keep their eyes open, but Nabokov represented a special situation in that he didn’t require moving any assets in a trade and was cheap enough to fit onto a healthy Wings squad and still stay below the salary cap.

Update 1:06 PM: For the record, I don’t expect the Wings to successfully land another back-up goaltender.  Holland is loath to give up assets for short-term fixes.

Update 2:42 PM: Per Larry Lage and Ira Podell, Chris Osgood is a smart man:

“I haven’t put much thought into it, but the Islanders are terrible so I’m not sure why they did that,’’ said Osgood, a former New York goalie.

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Comments

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SK77's avatar

It’s kind of like playing in Russia.

Only more depressing.

Posted by SK77 on 01/22/11 at 03:04 PM ET

cainer4wingsglory's avatar

*#$%@& you Garth Snow. I would say Karma will get you….but it already has.

Posted by cainer4wingsglory on 01/22/11 at 03:05 PM ET

datsyukdanglesyou's avatar

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

Posted by datsyukdanglesyou on 01/22/11 at 03:05 PM ET

Jeff  OKWingnut's avatar

Bob McKenzie was spot-on.

Curious that Nabby’s agent said he would only play for a contender.  Wonder if he will report?

Posted by Jeff OKWingnut from Quest for 12 on 01/22/11 at 03:05 PM ET

The Hurricane's avatar

Having a hard time believing this is the end of this saga. Tick Tock is too brilliant….and Nabby says he’s only going to sign with a contender….

Posted by The Hurricane on 01/22/11 at 03:06 PM ET

mrfluffy's avatar

Not surprising. Still irritating.

Look for an almost unmarked package showing up at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum come Monday.

The only thing on it other than postage will be a red 44.

Posted by mrfluffy from Long Beach on 01/22/11 at 03:06 PM ET

Paul's avatar

Bob McKenzie was spot-on.

Curious that Nabby’s agent said he would only play for a contender.  Wonder if he will report?

Posted by Jeff OKWingnut from Quest for 12 on 01/22/11 at 12:05 PM ET

Agent said yesterday he will go wherever, wants to showcase for next contract.

Posted by Paul from Motown Area on 01/22/11 at 03:06 PM ET

MOWingsfan19's avatar

Agent said yesterday he will go wherever, wants to showcase for next contract.
Posted by Paul from Motown Area on 01/22/11 at 12:06 PM ET

Umm, not so sure the Isles wiil showcase him in the right light, so to speak.

Posted by MOWingsfan19 from I really like our team on 01/22/11 at 03:08 PM ET

Jeff  OKWingnut's avatar

It will be more curious to hear what Holland says about the situation.

Posted by Jeff OKWingnut from Quest for 12 on 01/22/11 at 03:08 PM ET

Avatar

Sure the Islanders have a couple goalies out but what are they gaining from this?  He probly wont play next season with them because he does want to win a stanley cup.  I would have liked to see him on a team that was at least competing for a playoff spot.

Posted by mtlj45 on 01/22/11 at 03:09 PM ET

cainer4wingsglory's avatar

If anybody was going to take him, at least it’s a team in the East that won’t make the playoffs. Despite our hopes, everyone knew he wasn’t going to clear. How pissed would Wing fans been if a contender from the West grabbed him?

Posted by cainer4wingsglory on 01/22/11 at 03:10 PM ET

Rumbear's avatar

Maybe this means the Isles are a contender? For what, I do not know. 

As the Nabokov Turns is not over till Tick Tock says it is…stay tuned.

Posted by Rumbear from Top O the Hasek, for the 23rd postseason.... on 01/22/11 at 03:11 PM ET

Avatar

True enough cainer4wingsglory

Posted by mtlj45 on 01/22/11 at 03:11 PM ET

SnLO's avatar

I really wonder what the Isle’s motivation is behind this move.. It’s not like they’re a contender and they recently traded away Roly. I wonder if that’s it… accumulate trade assets… it’s a thought, could be something to that.

Posted by SnLO from the sub great-white north on 01/22/11 at 03:12 PM ET

cainer4wingsglory's avatar

The Islanders have been pretty competitive as of late and DiPietro is a bum, so this makes sense to me. It will more than likely sell some tickets, and that alone is worth the 250,000 investment.

Posted by cainer4wingsglory on 01/22/11 at 03:14 PM ET

Avatar

The Islanders added salary? Maybe they need Nabokov’s $240,000 hit to stay above the cap floor when they trade Matt Moulson later this week.

Posted by Sven22 from Grand Rapids on 01/22/11 at 03:16 PM ET

WingedRider's avatar

Do they ever disclose how many teams put in a claim?  Under Buttman regime I probably already know the answer?  Garth Snow is dumb in my opinion for wanting to get better.  He might have just paid to get a poorer draft position.  DiPietro has the Flu and other 2 kids are playing fairly well.  Oh well,Maybe something at the trade deadline.

Posted by WingedRider from Saskatoon, SK on 01/22/11 at 03:18 PM ET

George Malik's avatar

I believe that the decision to name teams that put in a claim is up to the teams in question.

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 01/22/11 at 03:20 PM ET

cainer4wingsglory's avatar

I expected this, but it’s all very anti-climatic…

Posted by cainer4wingsglory on 01/22/11 at 03:23 PM ET

TheRealYooper's avatar

so, all that is left is to pay the wings, 3,000 or so bux, or so.  i read somewhere that because he is a goalie, and has played more than 2 years, the wings are owed 90,000.  but it is just after 12 noon, and have just awoke, so the mind has not kicked in yet.

Posted by TheRealYooper from within sight of the edge of the Earth. on 01/22/11 at 03:27 PM ET

WestWing's avatar

Well that was certainly a lot of fun over the past couple of days.  I think we all needed a nice little distraction like this to shake things up. 

Since no player signing a free agent deal that requires passing through re-entry waivers ever seems to end up with the team who signed them, a bored, perhaps somewhat sadistic GM could make quite a hobby of signing players just to watch the rest of the league take on more and more salary.

Posted by WestWing from Portland, Oregon on 01/22/11 at 03:33 PM ET

WingedRider's avatar

Am I missing something or did Snow (not a real GM,LOL) just pay for a poorer draft selection spot?  What a dumb move by a non playoff team.  A contender I could understand.  He is in the East in a hopeless spot, probably the best news we could get if the Wings couldn’t get him.

Posted by WingedRider from Saskatoon, SK on 01/22/11 at 03:33 PM ET

cainer4wingsglory's avatar

In the words of Herman Edwards, “You play to win the game!”

Posted by cainer4wingsglory on 01/22/11 at 03:36 PM ET

Forlorn in VA's avatar

Since no player signing a free agent deal that requires passing through re-entry waivers ever seems to end up with the team who signed them, a bored, perhaps somewhat sadistic GM could make quite a hobby of signing players just to watch the rest of the league take on more and more salary.
Posted by WestWing from Portland, Oregon on 01/22/11 at 12:33 PM ET

I like how you think.

Posted by Forlorn in VA on 01/22/11 at 03:37 PM ET

Avatar

For the love of Jebus… Snow took him so he could parlay the acquisition into a pick or a prospect.  He will NOT FINISH THE SEASON on Long Island.  I’m 100% certain of that.  Snow may have already called Holland and asked how important Nabokov was to him.

Posted by Unicorn Force from DC (but like everyone here, I'm not a local) on 01/22/11 at 03:41 PM ET

George Malik's avatar

Well the Islanders, ironically enough, do not qualify for revenue sharing as they’re within the Rangers’ TV market…ditto for the Devils.  So they’re not directly league-subsidized as far as I know…

But I think that Wang and Snow are most certainly NUTS.

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 01/22/11 at 03:43 PM ET

Cwix's avatar

Having a hard time believing this is the end of this saga. Tick Tock is too brilliant….and Nabby says he’s only going to sign with a contender….
Posted by The Hurricane on 01/22/11 at 12:06 PM ET

I have that feeling as well. Tick tock is not stupid. What would be the point of this exercise otherwise? He certainly would’ve expected Nabokov to be picked up on waivers. There has to be something more to the story…

Glad you’re back, George. H2H2 looms.

Posted by Cwix from Grand Rapids, now Roanoke, VA on 01/22/11 at 03:44 PM ET

WingedRider's avatar

I think Garth did indeed pay for a poorer draft selection spot. The Islanders, brought to you by insanity and Wang.  Which in the Long Run improve your team and today developing 2 young goalies is better than a few points in the standings.  Then again they might get worse with Nabby.  Wang and Snow may be brighter than we think?  Naw, forget that idea I had a Brain F@RT!  Wings beat Hawks and Hawks play Flyers Sunday.  2 loses for Hawks would make a great Monday!

Posted by WingedRider from Saskatoon, SK on 01/22/11 at 03:45 PM ET

mrfluffy's avatar

Wings beat Hawks and Hawks play Flyers Sunday.  2 loses for Hawks would make a great Monday!

I head to work in an hour so maybe that’s good juju for the Wings…but I honestly don’t think they’ll beat the Hawks. Blasphemous yes I know…but while Nabby might have been a good thing for them, this distraction will distract the Wings even more.

Posted by mrfluffy from Long Beach on 01/22/11 at 03:49 PM ET

cainer4wingsglory's avatar

“I didn’t make the move because I was concerned about our goaltending or Chris Osgood’s health,’’ Holland said. “We were exploring a unique opportunity.

“Now, we move on.’‘

No master plan apparently…

Posted by cainer4wingsglory on 01/22/11 at 03:51 PM ET

Avatar

According to this http://www.tsn.ca/co…nzie/?id=350469  the Islanders cant just trade him.

Posted by mtlj45 on 01/22/11 at 03:51 PM ET

WingedRider's avatar

If Snow tries to trade him, he has to go through waivers again.  I do agree that it does seem very odd for Holland to do all this knowing he would be claimed.  I guess we will see.  Nabby can’t even go to minors for conditioning.

Posted by WingedRider from Saskatoon, SK on 01/22/11 at 03:52 PM ET

dougie's avatar

“I didn’t make the move because I was concerned about our goaltending or Chris Osgood’s health,’’ Holland said.

As well as being the best GM in the business, he is a lying liar. It’s just a hunch, but I think he is much more concerned about the latter than the former. I will be very surprised to see Ozzie ever start another game in the NHL.

Posted by dougie on 01/22/11 at 03:57 PM ET

George Malik's avatar

Of course he’s a lying liar.  General managers and management types lie because they’re protecting their interests.  Even Jim Nill lies and he’s one of the nicest people I’ve ever met (seriously).  He was worried about Ozzie and worried about Jimmy…

And then he just took a chance for the hell of it.  I give him “mad props” for being thorough.

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 01/22/11 at 04:02 PM ET

Down River Dan's avatar

So, the braintrust of Wang & Snow decide that rather than ride out the season with oft- injured dipeitro (and continue to suck) which will have them finish behind only the devils in the standings, and thus secure them a lottery pick, they grab a goalie who won’t get them in the playoffs, but will assure they get a lower draft pick in the draft?

  Genius…pure genius.

Posted by Down River Dan on 01/22/11 at 04:03 PM ET

cainer4wingsglory's avatar

Down River, I’m pretty sure moves like this are par for the course on the Island…

Posted by cainer4wingsglory on 01/22/11 at 04:16 PM ET

Jeff  OKWingnut's avatar

And then he just took a chance for the hell of it. I give him “mad props” for being thorough.

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 01/22/11 at 01:02 PM ET

Abso - freaking - lutley.

Posted by Jeff OKWingnut from Quest for 12 on 01/22/11 at 04:22 PM ET

stonehands-78's avatar

Glad you’re back, George. H2H2 looms.

Posted by Cwix from Roanoke, VA on 01/22/11 at 12:44 PM ET


+19

Posted by stonehands-78 from the beginning ... a WingsFan, on 01/22/11 at 04:28 PM ET

Crow's avatar

Having a hard time believing this is the end of this saga. Tick Tock is too brilliant….

You might want to bring him back down to earth.  What Holland has proved in the past is that he is always willing to pull the trigger on deals that acquire a significant asset(Chelios, Hasek, etc).  He doesn’t pull rabbits out of his hat or walk on water.  Remember that not all of his dealings turned out to be successful.  But you can’t knock the guy for trying.  He is still the best GM in the NHL.

Posted by Crow on 01/22/11 at 04:29 PM ET

Little Redhead's avatar

Afternoon Ya All!  Well there you go…... avoid the uncertainty again…use your young blood, their eager, willing and able!

Lets Go Red WINGS!!!

Posted by Little Redhead from the Engineer's chair on 01/22/11 at 04:36 PM ET

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Welcome to Abel to Yzerman, a Red Wing blog since 1977.  No other site on the internet has better-researched, fact-laden and better prepared discussions than A2Y.  Re-phrase: we do little research, find facts and stats highly overrated and claim little to no preparation.  There are 19 readers of A2Y. No more, no less. All of them, except maybe one, are juvenile in nature.  Reminding them of that in the comment section will only encourage them to prove that. Your suggestions and critiques are welcome: wphoulihan@gmail.com