Evgeni Nabokov Will Not Report to Islanders
The Islanders can't trade him unless they expose him to waivers first, where he would almost surely get claimed by another club, whether it be the Detroit Red Wings, the team that originally signed him to a contract on Friday, or another team looking for a veteran goaltender for what amounts to a bargain in the salary cap era.
The Islanders waiver claim sent a bit of a shock -- and some ridicule -- through the NHL on Saturday afternoon. They are, after all, currently at the bottom of the NHL's standings and closer to the No. 1 overall pick in next year's draft than a potential playoff spot. His decision to snub the Islanders comes after his agent said he would report to any team that claimed him due to his desire to have an audition period for next season. So much for that. The question now becomes whether or not the Islanders are willing to give in and waive Nabokov, allowing to him potentially find a situation that is more to his liking, or stand their ground.
What incentive do the Islanders have to give in and place him back on waivers? If Nabokov is serious about playing this season, this is his opportunity. If not, he has to wait until next season without any NHL action for a year.
Nabokov was on waivers in the first place because he spent the first half of the season playing in the KHL. He was released from that deal in December and then signed a contract with the Red Wings on Friday. League rules state that any player that plays overseas during the season has to clear waivers before he can play in the NHL.