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Leafs Talk: Should Toronto Maple Leafs Explore Idea of Getting Evgeni Nabokov?

PITTSBURGH, PA - OCTOBER 27:  Evgeni Nabokov #20 of the New York Islanders can't make the save on a goal by James Neal #18 (not pictured) of the Pittsburgh Penguins during the game at Consol Energy Center on October 27, 2011 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  The Penguins defeated the Islanders 3-2 in a shootout.  (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
Justin K. Aller/Getty Images
Brad LeClairCorrespondent INovember 11, 2011

Since an amazing 5-0-1 start to begin the 2011-12 season, the Toronto Maple Leafs have come back down to Earth as a result of some recent injuries to James Reimer, Tim Connolly and Colby Armstrong.

All three of these players play integral roles with the club. Armstrong serves as a mentor, leader and an all-around player who can be relied upon to forecheck, backcheck and penalty kill.

Connolly centers the team's first line and without him linemates Joffrey Lupul and Phil Kessel seem to be less dangerous.

However, the most important piece to the puzzle is still missing due to concussion-like symptoms, and that's Reimer.

With Reimer playing net, the entire Leafs team takes on a new persona. They play with confidence, they're never out of a game, and rarely does he give up a bad goal. If he does, he usually stops it at one and shuts the door.

When he got hurt in a collision with Montreal Canadiens captain Brian Gionta in the seventh game of the season, the Leafs season began a roller coaster ride.

The Leafs decided to call up minor league starter Ben Scrivens to take over as backup goalie. Thus far Scrivens has nearly been unbeatable on the road.

As for pseudo-No. 1 goalie Jonas Gustavsson, he's not quite as predictable as Scrivens. The Monster overall comes up with some stellar saves, but is prone to giving up soft goals, and soft goals in bunches.

 

His confidence is nearly finished and his time with the Maple Leafs may soon be as well.

With Reimer not ready to return, and the backup goalie situation murky at best, should the Leafs explore a trade with the Islanders to grab Evgeni Nabokov?

"Nabby" is in a battle for the No. 1 job down on Long Island along with Al Montoya and Rick DiPietro.

So far this season he is 1-3-0 with a 2.81 GAA and a .911 SV%. It's nothing spectacular, but its certainly better than the numbers Gustavsson or Scrivens have put up.

At 36 years old, Nabokov still has some good years left in the tank.

With a plethora of minor league defenceman nearly ready, and Cody Franson sitting in the press boxes, could a Franson/Nabokov swap make sense for both sides?

Franson gives the Islanders another right-handed point presence on a team that is starving for good young defencemen.

As for Nabokov, he would take over the backup duties in Toronto, but still stands a chance at starting given Reimer's health or worse, his being figured out by the NHL and teams' scouts.\

 

UPDATE: Know this: Nabokov dying to leave, making no secret about it. Family still in CA. dying to get down to 2 goalies. RTChrisBotta

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