According to a New York’s Newsday, the New York Islanders are planning to retain the rights to goaltender Evgeni Nabokov for the 2011-2012 season. Nabokov was picked off waivers by the team after signing a one-year deal with the Detroit Red Wings but since the collective bargaining agreement calls for players signing a NHL-level contract to enter waivers Nabokov ended up in Long Island. However the newest Islander never donned an Islanders jersey opting to hold out in hopes he would be freed from his contract this coming off-season.
Nabokov left the NHL last year to sign a 3-year-deal with the KHL’s SKA St.Petersburg but terminated his contract due to mysterious causes not fully understood in both Russian or American media. Is it possible he will end his hold-out in hopes all will be brushed under the rug should he report? Or will he yet again try to return to Russia to salvage his one-time elite goalie status? It should make for an interesting off-season as the Islanders always seem to need a goalie with the ever injury prone Rick DiPietro who last needed 4-6 weeks of recovery after this.
Nabokov is currently playing for Team Russia ahead of the 2011 Men’s World Championships in Slovakia.