This afternoon Evgeni Nabokov was told by San Jose Sharks management that they will not offer him a contract. The 35-year old goalie has played for San Jose since 1995—his entire career.
However, his age and his inability to lead the Sharks to a Cup caught up to him, and the Sharks decided to move on. Nabokov, should he choose to keep playing, will become a free agent.
This creates an interesting situation for the Capitals. With the management choosing not to renew Jose Theodore's contract, this leaves Semyon Varlamov and Michael Neuvirth left.
For those who don't know who Neuvirth is here's a quick rundown. Neurvirth was the starting goalie for the Hershey Bears the past two years, and won the Calder Cup both years, and posting the best record in AHL history in 2009-10 (60-17-3). He saw action in a few NHL games in the fall.
Then there is Nabokov who, despite being old, is not washed up by any means. He finished second in wins with 44, a .922 save percentage and 2.43 goals against average. In the playoffs he posted a .907 save percentage and 2.56 goals against average.
The only concern with Nabokov is his shelf life. At 35, his performance will begin to drop and could either mentor or stifle Varlamov's and Neurvirth's development. Not to mention he'll begin to contemplate retirement long before Varly. This leaves the Capitals a choice.
Do you go with Nabokov, the veteran who has seen more action than Neuvirth and Varlamov combined? Or do you stay young with the the Russian and Czech?