Free agent goaltender Evgeni Nabokov is in talks to sign a deal with the Detroit Red Wings, as first reported by TSN and confirmed by Red Wings GM Ken Holland. The talks are ongoing, according to ESPN's Pierre LeBrun, but the TSN report states that a deal may be close to being finalized. Holland said he doesn't know if a deal is imminent or not.
Nabokov played for the San Jose Sharks for the past 10 seasons. He became a free agent after the 2009-10 season and the Sharks decided not to bring him back, mainly because of not having enough room with the salary cap. As a result, Nabokov decided to leave the NHL altogether and signed a deal with SKA St. Petersburg of the KHL. His contract was terminated in December after a mutual decision was made to part ways due to "family circumstances."
Even if the Red Wings end up signing Nabokov, it's not a guarantee that he would end up on their roster. To get back into the NHL he would have to clear waivers, and it would not be the least bit surprising if a team in need of help at goalie decided to claim him. It also wouldn't be all that surprising if a team claimed him to block the Red Wings from getting help at goalie, although obviously that's easier said than done with the salary cap.
This news came a bit out of left field because it was so unexpected, but the Red Wings could use added depth at goalie. Jimmy Howard has been banged up and his play has been inconsistent lately, and Chris Osgood is out until March after having surgery to repair a sports hernia. Joey MacDonald hasn't been bad when the Red Wings have had to call on him lately, but if Howard were to suffer a serious injury the Red Wings would be in serious trouble. Even fourth-string goalie Thomas McCollum got hurt earlier this week, so adding insurance by signing Nabokov wouldn't be a bad move with the injury bug currently biting the Red Wings.