Evgeni Nabokov Claimed By New York Islanders, But Refuses To Report

Matt HutterAnalyst IJanuary 22, 2011

CHICAGO - MAY 23:  Goaltender Evgeni Nabokov #20 of the San Jose Sharks makes a save while taking on the Chicago Blackhawks in Game Four of the Western Conference Finals during the 2010 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at the United Center on May 23, 2010 in Chicago, Illinois.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

The following was reported at 12pm EST today:

As predicted, the Red Wings attempt to bring goalie Evgeni Nabokov to Motown has failed.

The New York Islanders have claimed the goalie on re-entry waivers.

Nabokov could have provided a good insurance policy for the Red Wings in the event that Chris Osgood, currently out for the next six weeks after undergoing sports hernia surgery, would be unable to return to the team this season.

Additionally, many speculated that the presence of Nabokov could have helped to push Jimmy Howard a bit more in net.

Whether he would have or not we'll never know.

The Islanders are currently 14th in the Eastern Conference and while a playoff appearance is still mathematically possible, it is almost a certain impossibility that they will see the postseason this year.

Ultimately, this move will likely benefit Nabokov more than the Isles.

The veteran's unsuccessful stint in the KHL seems to have re-focused his energy towards reestablishing his credentials and reputation as an NHL goalie.

Should he put together a solid string of games the rest of the season in New York, he could greatly enhance his marketability over the summer.

In that case, with the Wings facing contract uncertainty in net (both Howard and Osgood will be unrestricted free agents, the latter possibly facing retirement), Nabokov making his way to Detroit after all is still a possibility.

Update 4pm EST:

Evgeni Nabokov will not be a New York Islander after all.

Nabokov has reportedly refused to report to the Islanders leaving his status in the NHL uncertain.

While the 35-year-old goalie is well within his rights by refusing to report to the team, he runs the risk of sitting out the rest of the season.

If the Islanders so choose, they can simply hold his rights and do nothing with them the rest of the year.

They could choose to trade him, but, that gets a little tricky.

In order to trade him, the Islanders would first have to put him on waivers, which Nabokov must clear in order for the Islanders to facilitate a trade.

However, in order for that to happen, Nabokov would have to waive the no-movement clause written into the contract he signed with Detroit on Thursday.

That means he could end up with Detroit after all, but, the chances of that happening are about as slim as they were 24 hours ago.

Stay tuned for more as the Nabokov story is apparently far from over.

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