Refused To Report, Forced To Play, But Now Nabby Decided To Stay

Yesterday the New York Islanders announced that goaltender Evgeni Nabokov will remain an Islander through the 2013 season after signing a one-year contract extension. According to TSN, the contract is worth $2.75 million, a more than reasonable price for his services. (Robert Kowal/Flickr)

Per the Isles press release:


UNIONDALE, NY (March 21, 2012) – The New York Islanders announced today that goaltender Evgeni Nabokov has agreed to terms on a one-year contract for the 2012-13 season.


“I’m thrilled to commit to this team for next season,” Nabokov said. “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, has a 17-18-3 record this season with a 2.56 goals against average and a .912 save percentage. The Kamenogorsk, KZ, native leads all Islanders goalies in games played, wins, goals against average and saves percentage. He is 11-7-3 in his last 21 games.


“Evgeni has proven that he can still play at an elite level in the NHL,” Islanders General Manager Garth Snow said. “He’s given us a chance to win every night and we’re excited to have him back for another season.”


The Islanders claimed Nabokov off of waivers on Jan. 22, 2011. He 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 save%. He also played in 80 NHL playoff games with San Jose, posting a 40-38 record with a 2.29 GAA and a .913 save%.

What do you think that says to the rest of the league? A veteran goalie that is looking to win a Stanley Cup before he retires refused to report to camp last year, then was forced to play and now has officially decided to stay because why? HE LIKES IT HERE AFTER ALL!

The fact that the Islanders retained Nabokov is a big sign that the organization is looking ahead to a better season in 2013 and will push for a playoff spot. How Rick DiPietro feels about this? I am not sure. But with his health constantly in question, the better question is if anyone really care how DP feels? The team needs a healthy, number one goaltender to be successful. DP has not been that man for several years now, and this year the team won games even after being out played due to their goaltending.

This could be the first sign of things to come this off-season when the Islanders hit free agency. But that will remain to be seen until July 1st. For now, Islanders fans can relax in knowing that a proven veteran goaltender that stole many hockey games this season will be returning in an Islanders jersey.

-Rob McGowan

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