On Saturday, the New York Islanders claimed goaltender Evgeni Nabokov off waivers, thus negating a one-year contract he’d agreed to with the Detroit Red Wings.
Soon after the waiver claim was announced, however, Nabokov’s agent, Don Meehan, revealed that the netminder had decided not to report to the Islanders. Not only are the Isles not the contender Nabokov was hoping to play for (15-24-7, 14th in the Eastern Conference), but he would also likely share time with Rick DiPietro in goal.
(Earlier in the week, Meehan told MLive.com that Nabokov would play for any team he ended up with because he didn’t want to sit out the season.)
So if Nabokov sticks to his current stance, where does that leave him? ESPN.com’s Pierre LeBrun lays it out for us:
• They can suspend Nabokov for not reporting to the team.
• They can go to the NHL and say they want to trade Nabokov, but two things have to happen for any trade to happen: Nabokov would have to waive his no-movement clause and the Isles would have to put him back on the waiver wires, as stated in section 13.23 of the CBA. Only teams that put in an initial waiver claim for Nabokov this past Friday/Saturday would have access to the goalie during this waiver period.
• If he clears waivers again, all 29 teams would get to participate in a second waiver-wire process. The team that sits lowest in the standings has first priority here if multiple teams put in claims.
• If he were to clear waivers a third time (this is highly, highly unlikely), the Islanders would then be able to trade the netminder.
So if you were holding out hope that Nabokov could still somehow end up in a Red Wings uniform this season, you can pretty much forget that idea. Under neither of those scenarios is he likely to become available to Detroit again. Ken Holland must now look elsewhere to boost his team’s depth at goaltender.