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Updated at 1:35 w/ Devils news: Red Wings officially sign Nabokov, and now the wait begins

Per the Detroit Red Wings’ Twitter feed, the Red Wings have officially signed Evgeni Nabokov to a one-year deal at, per Capgeek.com, a pro-rated $570,000 salary (or $250,000 for the remainder of the season).  The Wings have to put him on waivers at 12 PM EST on Friday and he can be claimed until
Saturday at noon.  As previously noted, there’s a whole bunch of innuendo and absolutely no answers from Red Wings GM Ken Holland as to why he’s pursuing Nabokov…it’s safe to say that we’ll know why by Saturday, at which time it’s highly unlikely that Nabokov will be asking Drew Miller for his jersey number.

Update 10:36 PM: Per Fox Sports Detroit’s Mickey Redmond, Ken Holland popped into the booth as the buzzer went and said, yes, they have signed Nabokov, the deal was signed, paving the way possibly to bring him to Detroit but as Ken Daniels says he has to clear waivers first.  As far as Daniels is concerned, this has to do with insurance until Chris Osgood comes back—and because he might not be back at 100% when he returns mid-March—so the Wings have made an insurance signing and will see what happens.  Daniels also says that he can’t be sent to the AHL for a conditioning stint, nor can he be moved by the team that claims him, assuming that he is claimed.  Update again: Redmond also made a good point that the Wings can tempt a 3-headed goalie monster for about a month’s worth of regular season given that Nabokov hasn’t played in the NHL and is obviously motivated to prove that he’s still a capable goaltender—if he clears, anyway…

As I reported in my previous post, Sport-Express’s Igor Larin spoke to Nabkov’s Russian agent, Sergei Isakov, and then conveniently suggested that the Hurricanes and/or Senators would be the favorites for Nabokov in the waiver derby.

Update 10:55 PM: Herm Himself offers this, via TSN’s Bob McKenzie:

As @darrendreger reported much earlier today, Nabokov’s annual salary in DET is $570K.
...
Nabokov’s agent Don Meehan sent a letter to all NHL teams prior to signing saying Nabokov wants to be able to compete as a starter.
...
Nabokov has a No Move clause in his contract with DET. Cannot be put on waivers (after tomorrow, which is req’d) without his permission.

An interesting suggestion from Jeff Marek:

@TSNBobMcKenzie that must mean Osgood is done for the season.

My bottom-of-my-foot-long-goatee line: One way or another, speculation doesn’t do us much good until we find out whether Nabokov clears waivers.  I don’t expect him to do so.  If he does, then we can assume that Nabokov’s insurance and is going to allow Osgood to fully recover—and we can also start asking questions as to whether Osgood, who’s battled all sorts of groin injuries since the lockout, is tuckered out from the literal wear and tear and wants to retire, though it’s hard to believe that the Wings could re-sign Howard—and they will do just that—and afford to have Nabokov around next year as a similar sort of insurance policy.

If he doesn’t, we can ponder whether Holland’s greasing the wheels for a trade deadline move (the Wings could use a depth defenseman and/or forward as usual), whether he’s going to get a mid-round draft pick in return from the team that signs him as “future considerations,” or whether he’s just repaying a favor to the GM of the team that claims him.

Until then, even given the fact that Wings GM Ken Holland is going to make comments to the Detroit press that will follow these comments sooner than later?  We’re gonna have to wait till noon on Saturday to find out what this move really means, if it means anything at all.

Update 11:04 PM: Per McKenzie, again:

If claimed on waivers by another team, Nabokov cannot be traded or waived again without DET having first option to take him back.

Update 11:14 PM: Per McKenzie, one more time:

Just to clarify, Nabokov cannot be traded because he would have to go back to the wings on waivers. My point is he can’t go to 3rd party…without the Wings having the chance to take him back first. Did not word it correctly the first time. Sorry for confusion.

Update 11:20 PM: Pension Plan Puppets has a fantastic waiver primer if you’re as confused about the issue as I am.

Update 11:36 PM: Take this, from the CBC’s Tim Wharnsby, at face value (via Elliotte Friedman):

Look for Detroit to work out a deal with the Devils to claim Nabokov on waivers to avoid the St. Louis troubles with Svatos and Wellwood.

Well this little bit from The Sporting News’s Craig Custance is interesting…Will Nabokov be claimed?

“My guess is no,” one NHL general manager told Sporting News.

So what would that mean about Osgood’s recovery from hernia surgery?

“It all depends on how good a healer he is, how quickly he can get back and get ready,” Osgood’s agent, Roland Thompson, told Sporting News on Thursday evening. “Hernias are a tough thing, they can drag on for a long time, especially if you’re a goalie.”

Osgood was on a treadmill for 45 minutes the day after his operation, but the addition of Nabokov would ease any pressure on him to rush back into the lineup. In fact, it might help the Red Wings’ salary-cap situation if he stayed on long-term injured reserve.  Osgood, like Howard, is an unrestricted free agent after this season but is more likely to follow the Kirk Maltby path and join the team’s front office rather than play elsewhere if there isn’t room on the roster.

“He’s in Detroit’s long-term plans,” Thompson said. “But it’s too early to speculate. He still has a desire to compete.”

What about this whole, “Howard isn’t good enough” stuff?

“Their goaltending has been good, the times I’ve seen Howard play,” Chicago GM Stan Bowman told Sporting news. “I don’t think there’s an issue in goal in Detroit. They’re just looking for stability or insurance for injuries. They have a good goalie already.”

I don’t have any complaints about Howard…The Wings have given up more shots and have been quite sloppy in their own end, and yes, he’s got to improve his technique a wee little bit because he’s been picked apart by video scouting and there’s no surprise factor anymore, but he still wins games and is on track to win 30-40 consistently…

Update, midnight-ish: The Free Press’s George Sipple asked Wings coach Mike Babcock what he thought about the Nabokov signing, and maybe it was the quick flight back to Detroit (N682RW is still in St. Louis as of midnight) or the exhaustion of the last two months’ of crazy scheduling talking, but Babcock offered a sharp retort:

“My comment is, he’s not our player, so when he becomes our player, then I’ll talk about him,” Wings coach Mike Babcock said when asked about Nabokov following a 4-3 overtime win over the Blues tonight at the Scottrade Center. “Even though we’ve signed him – until he clears waivers and becomes a Red Wings, there’s no sense talking about him. St. Louis has been through it a couple times already. Why would we talk about a player that’s not ours?”

Wings general manager Ken Holland also declined to further comment on tonight. Don Meehan, Nabokov’s agent, did not return phone calls seeking comment.

Holland did agree, as he told MLive’s Ansar Khan:

Red Wings general manager Ken Holland declined comment, saying, “He’s nobody’s player until noon on Saturday.’‘

Kris Draper agrees with Khan’s insider’s suggestion that there’s no way in hell that Nabokov will dress in Detroit on Saturday…

“That was a bit of a surprise, but there’s still a long way in the whole process before that becomes a reality that he’s here,” Draper said. “I don’t think there’s too many teams who are going to be willing to help us out (by not claiming him).  You just have to look down the hall here (at the Blues) and see what happens with a team signing a player and him going through waivers. We’ll have to see what the process is.”

Draper also said that Osgood’s on that six-to-eight-week sports hernia surgery recovery schedule (TM)...

“He’s seen the way I responded and I basically had the same surgery (Oct. 21), same doctor (William Meyers),” Draper said. “He’s just going to go through the same protocol. I’ve seen him a couple of times since the surgery, he’s moving around, he’s walking.’‘

And even Howard got a bit testy when asked about Nabokov’s status as a starting netminder who might split starts with #35:

“I don’t need anybody to push me,’’ Howard said. “I push myself. I work hard in practice every single day and I just go out there and try to win games for the guys.’‘

Update 12:21 AM: More from Paul on the Devils angle:

@Ledger_NJDevils: Devils may claimn goalie Evgeni Nabokov and then put him on waivers so Red Wings can claim him and complete their acquisition.

Update 12:24 AM: Fanhouse’s Bruce Ciskie believes that the Blackhawks, Lightning, Sharks, Blue Jackets and Thrashers could all put claims in on Nabokov.

Update 1:36 AM: I’m a night owl, so I usually don’t have headaches at this hour, but this is just…too…confusing…Per the Newark Star-Ledger’s Rich Chere:

The Devils may claim goaltender Evgeni Nabokov on waivers and then put him back on waivers Friday so that he can sign with the Detroit Red Wings.

Nabokov started this season in the Kontinental Hockey League, so he must clear waivers to play in the NHL.

The Devils would be doing the Red Wings a favor by claiming Nabokov and then putting him back on waivers. The Red Wings have reportedly agreed to a one-year, $570,000 deal with the veteran goalie.

So this might not be done till Monday, because a player who’s placed back on waivers on a Saturday hangs out there for 48 hours…

Update 9:11 AM: Draper reiterated his comments to the Free Press’s George Sipple, who noted that Jimmy Howard’s at least keeping an open mind about the possible addition…

Asked about the Nabokov signing, Howard said: “That’s out of my hands. That’s up to management and what they think. If he can help us, he can help us.”

Asked whether he thought Nabokov, 35, was signed as insurance or to push him, Howard said: “I don’t need anyone to push me. I push myself. I work hard in practice every single day, and I just go out there and try to win games for the guys.”

As the narrative continues, my cobbled-together-in-the-middle-of-the-night theory as to what motivated Holland to sign Nabokov is as follows:

The best educated guess I can make is that Holland chose to talk contract turkey with Don Meehan when Howard suffered that stinger off his knee, probably fearing that Howard had broken his right patella.  When the Wings found out that Howard would be okay, Holland and Meehan simply chose to continue cobbling together a cap-friendlier contract, with the Red Wings crossing their fingers that Nabokov will clear waivers and add depth and Meehan canvassing the rest of the league with a, “My client wants a starting job” fax or email to let them know that Nabokov would sign with and then be waived by an NHL team.

In this scenario, Holland may or may not be doing another GM a favor in exchange for mid-round draft pick “considerations” down the line and/or some sort of trade wheel-greasing, but the overriding goal is to simply see the process through for Meehan, Nabokov and the sake of the Wings’ team depth.

Update 9:15 AM: The Windsor Star’s Dave Waddell adds this from Holland:

Holland said the move to sign Nabokov wasn’t prompted by some setback for Osgood, who will be a free agent at the end of the season.

“Everything I’ve been told he’s right on schedule,” Holland said. “The surgery went well. He is rehabbing. All indications are everything went well.  March (return), that’s the hope.  Can’t read the future. Barring any setbacks he’s six to eight weeks.”
...
“Whatever helps the team, helps the team,” Howard said of the sudden developments.  “But I think for the most part everyone in here is planning on having (Osgood) back whenever he’s due.”

Update 1:35 PM per Tom Gulitti:

Lamoriello said Devils will not put in waiver claim for Nabokov.

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Comments

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PaulinMiamiBeach's avatar

The organization currently has two of its top four goalies injured for significant periods of time.

um, Howard played last night.  the only one injured is Osgood.

Posted by PaulinMiamiBeach on 01/21/11 at 12:59 PM ET

Primis's avatar

Detroit has goalie prospects, plural? McCollum seems to be the only high level goalie prospect the Wings have…

Posted by cainer4wingsglory on 01/21/11 at 09:08 AM ET

Last I knew Pearce was considered a big project, but long-term could maybe end up somewhere with the Wings with spot duty.

Posted by Primis on 01/21/11 at 01:02 PM ET

Avatar

Can you put a player with a no movement clause on waivers?

If he gives permission, which one would assume he would since he wants to play for Detroit.

Posted by Garth on 01/21/11 at 01:08 PM ET

YzermanZetterberg's avatar

The organization currently has two of its top four goalies injured for significant periods of time.

um, Howard played last night.  the only one injured is Osgood.

I think the “two” are Osgood and McCollum.

Posted by YzermanZetterberg on 01/21/11 at 01:12 PM ET

John W.'s avatar

Only problem with the whole NJ claims him and then waives him things is one of the experts said last night on twitter (don’t remember which 1) that if a team claims and then waives, the other teams that originally put in a claim would get him in order of priority.  So if 5 teams put in a claim, the claim and waive would have to happen 5 times for him to be a Wing.

Posted by John W. from a bubble wrap cocoon on 01/21/11 at 01:54 PM ET

Avatar

So maybe it goes like this.  Devils claim Nabby.  Devils waive Nabby.  Nabby to DET.  DET makes a trade with the Devils (the unstated part of the compensation having already been completed).

Why would they waive Nabby?  If he signed with Detriot, presumably he’d waive his NMC for a trade to Detroit, right?  If that theory holds true, what is preventing ANY GM from claiming him and telling the Wings, we got him.  If you want him back, you owe us a second round pick/quality prospect.  Take Ottawa for example.  They are a total mess and clearly are not going to the post-season.  Nabby would clearly waive his NMC for a shot to play in the post-season.  Why wouldn’t they claim Nabby just so they could get a solid prospect or pick within the next four weeks? 

And Puck’s lists are incorrect.  There are only two teams that currently (and by moving players they could easily create the space) do not have sufficient cap space to claim Nabakov - Pittsburgh & Vancouver.  So think of it this way - EVERY team has the ability to claim him.

Posted by Unicorn Force from DC (but like everyone here, I'm not a local) on 01/21/11 at 01:57 PM ET

Guilherme's avatar

Apparently we think Ken Holland is some kind of Vito Corleone of the NHL, meaning that every single GM owes him a favor. But what if this gentlemen’s agreement we’re talking about is not about Detroit giving to receive later? What if Nabokov is the second leg of the favor switch?

(I have no closure to this argument. sorry)

Posted by Guilherme from Brazsil on 01/21/11 at 02:00 PM ET

Guilherme's avatar

What John W. said, from capgeek:

Any team with unsuccessful first claim on Nabokov would have priority if acquiring team turned around and placed him on waivers again.

If Nabokov has an NMC and was waived a second time, he could potentially block waiver process but not choose a claiming team.

If ONLY ONE team submits a claim for Nabokov, acquires him, and waives him again, Detroit would then have priority

Posted by Guilherme from Brazsil on 01/21/11 at 02:02 PM ET

Joe Z.'s avatar

NJ will get Hudler for a low draft pick. Zach Parise is out for season anyway. NJ is out of the post-season too. sounds like a good fit. Healder in the east, could work out like Leino in the east. Only they get Nabokov for 250k cap space. I’m just not sure about the cap space but if parise is out with 3,2m cap hit.

Posted by Joe Z. from Austria on 01/21/11 at 02:10 PM ET

PaulinMiamiBeach's avatar

OK so we have all come up with a bunch of different options for how this could play out.  now we just have to think of the one that nobody thought of, because that’s the one Kenny is using.

this is great.  in the next day or so, we’re all gonna have a OMG he did WHAT?!  HAHAHAHA moment.

does anyone here even suspect in the slightest that he isn’t going to get EXACTLY what he wants?

Posted by PaulinMiamiBeach on 01/21/11 at 02:24 PM ET

Guilherme's avatar

MacDonald sent back to GR, Jordan Pearce called up.

Posted by Guilherme from Brazsil on 01/21/11 at 03:00 PM ET

SYF's avatar

MacDonald sent back to GR, Jordan Pearce called up.

Posted by Guilherme from Brazsil on 01/21/11 at 12:00 PM ET

Wow.  Definitely trying to get some NHL exposure for all of their netminders.

Posted by SYF from the team that re-signed KFQ and DFC by KFH on 01/21/11 at 03:09 PM ET

Chris in A^2's avatar

Apparently we think Ken Holland is some kind of Vito Corleone of the NHL, meaning that every single GM owes him a favor. But what if this gentlemen’s agreement we’re talking about is not about Detroit giving to receive later? What if Nabokov is the second leg of the favor switch?
-Guilherme

The wings will look to increase their surplus of offense and players on LTIR by getting Parise with Nabokov for a pick and a prospect.
/bs

Posted by Chris in A^2 from Nyquist Puck Control on 01/21/11 at 03:11 PM ET

Avatar

12:15PM. 

How many teams have put in a claim?

Posted by Unicorn Force from DC (but like everyone here, I'm not a local) on 01/21/11 at 03:15 PM ET

Avatar

There are some really good theories on this board.  I think that if the New Jersey rumor is true then we may see Detroit make a trade with the Devils in the next week or so.  If the Devils claim Nabokov and put him back on waivers for Detroit, then they would want something in return for him.  I think that this is the first step in a trade that could possibly happen in the next week or so. 

If another team claims Nabokov then I could see Detroit sitting down with Nabokov in the offseason if Osgood retires.  Detroit helps Nabokov get back into the NHL this season and Nabokov might take a discount to play for Detroit next season for a chance to win the cup.  This gives Detroit a chance to see him play the remainder of this season if they dont get him.

Anything could happen.

Posted by mtlj45 on 01/21/11 at 03:19 PM ET

RWBill's avatar

This is like trying to follow the hiring of a football coach, all we have is a tail number and rumors, and there is only one person with all the information.

Posted by RWBill from the open bar on The Hasek. on 01/21/11 at 03:24 PM ET

SYF's avatar

Jeebus, are we attempting an LB of the Nabokov Waiver Watch?

I drink a cup of java to that.

Posted by SYF from the team that re-signed KFQ and DFC by KFH on 01/21/11 at 03:27 PM ET

Jeff  OKWingnut's avatar

Methinks the Devils want Pearce - - that is the tradeoff.

Posted by Jeff OKWingnut from Quest for 12 on 01/21/11 at 03:27 PM ET

Jeff  OKWingnut's avatar

Nabby on Waivers, per TSN:

10 minutes ago
@TSNBobMcKenzie: Waiver period ends at 12 noon Sat. Any team may put in claim on Nabokov. If 1 does, they get him. If more than 1, lowest in stdgs gets him.

23 minutes ago
@TSNBobMcKenzie: Nabokov (DET) on waivers. grin

Posted by Jeff OKWingnut from Quest for 12 on 01/21/11 at 03:40 PM ET

SYF's avatar

I’ve never seen this much hype over a re-entry waiver wire, Jeff.

Posted by SYF from the team that re-signed KFQ and DFC by KFH on 01/21/11 at 03:47 PM ET

hockeychic's avatar

I’m just going to wait for the dust to settle on this one.  Trying to figure it all out is giving me a headache! ohh

Posted by hockeychic from Denver, CO on 01/21/11 at 03:53 PM ET

Chris in A^2's avatar

Methinks the Devils want Pearce - - that is the tradeoff.
-Jeff OKWingnut

It should be over soon then, they have the worst record so they get Nabokov by default if they claim him.

Posted by Chris in A^2 from Nyquist Puck Control on 01/21/11 at 03:59 PM ET

CaptainDennisPolonich's avatar

: “I don’t need anyone to push me. I push myself. I work hard in practice every single day, and I just go out there and try to win games for the guys.”

Jimmy “3 foal” Howard sounds pissed off.
From wiki: on July 7 it was reported that he had signed a $24 million dollar contract with SKA St. Petersburg of the KHL, early reports varied on the length of the contract between 4 or 6 years.[12][13] Because of “family circumstances” on December 13, 2010 his contract with SKA St. Petersburg was terminated by mutual consent.

Here is in stat line from SKA St. Petersburg in the KHL this season:

GP: W-L-T;__Mins.;___GA__SO__GAA__SV%
22: 8-8-5;___1230;___62___2___3.02__0.888

Nabbie never got it done in the NHL in the playoffs. He’s been inconsistently mediocre in the KHL this season.

I don’t know why 3 Foal is worried. Nabbie washed out of the KHL this season. “Family circumstances” and “mutual consent” my arse. Nabbie wasn’t performing and his Russian Oligarch owner didn’t want to pay $24mill for a .500 goalie with a sub-.900 SV%. Nabbie got fired.

Posted by CaptainDennisPolonich from The Land of Fake Boobs and Real Nuts on 01/21/11 at 04:18 PM ET

SYF's avatar

From Pierre LeBrun’s Twitter:

Have heard from a few teams who say they might claim Nabokov. We’ll see tomorrow whether it’s all talk or not.
7 minutes ago via ÜberTwitter

Posted by SYF from the team that re-signed KFQ and DFC by KFH on 01/21/11 at 04:22 PM ET

jennyquarx's avatar

From the Twitters:

@Ledger_NJDevils GM Lou Lamoriello says Devils will not put in a claim for goalie Evgeni Nabokov.

Posted by jennyquarx on 01/21/11 at 04:37 PM ET

SYF's avatar

Thanks, Jenny.  Oh boy, here we go.  Who’s next?  Isles?  Oilers?

Posted by SYF from the team that re-signed KFQ and DFC by KFH on 01/21/11 at 04:39 PM ET

Hippy Dave's avatar

whether he’s going to get a mid-round draft pick in return from the team that signs him as “future considerations,” or whether he’s just repaying a favor to the GM of the team that claims him

That’s why Kenny is so freaking awesome.  That’s exactly the plan.

And $575 for Nabby as a backup is a freaking steal if that number holds.

Jimmy’s still #1, for years to come.

Posted by Hippy Dave from Portland by way of Detroit on 01/21/11 at 04:39 PM ET

CaptainDennisPolonich's avatar

And $575 for Nabby as a backup is a freaking steal if that number holds.
Jimmy’s still #1, for years to come.
Posted by Hippy Dave from Portland by way of Detroit on 01/21/11 at 01:39 PM ET

Couple of points need clarifying.

While is it a 1yr K for $570K, since we are more than 1/2way through the season, Nabby’s cap hit, his take home and the Wings’ out-of-pocket is only $250K. So even a better deal than $570K.

Also, Jimmah may not be #1 for years to come; he’s an UFA at the end of this season. And it sounds like he didn’t take to kindly to Kenny signing a goalie who says he wants a #1 job.

Posted by CaptainDennisPolonich from The Land of Fake Boobs and Real Nuts on 01/21/11 at 05:08 PM ET

Itrusteddrrahmani's avatar

I for one, do not believe a single word Lou says…I think they’re still in the mix.

Posted by Itrusteddrrahmani from Nyc by way of A2 on 01/21/11 at 05:24 PM ET

wingsluver4ever's avatar

Instead of giving myself another headache….been reading entirely too many textbooks at start of semester…just going to wait it out and see what happens.

Not that I expect Nabby to pass waivers….but in Kenny, I trust.

Also appears, despite speculation, that Nabby back to Sharks not in the mix if Puck is right about who has cap space…unless they’re ready to do something they weren’t last summer when they didn’t offer their 10 year veteran a contract.

Posted by wingsluver4ever on 01/21/11 at 05:26 PM ET

Chris in A^2's avatar

I guess no one wants Nabokov on their roster or to make a trade with the wings.  I expect that the teams looking to block him from joining the wings will act like eBay bidders and wait till the last minute to pick him up in the hopes that someone else will pay the price to pick him up.

Posted by Chris in A^2 from Nyquist Puck Control on 01/21/11 at 08:42 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