The 2010-2011 season for Evgeni Nabokov was a disaster of epic proportions. Having signed a four-year $24 million contract with SKA St.Petersburg of the KHL before quitting just months later, Nabokov appeared headed back to the NHL. He was on the cusp of joining the Detroit Red Wings before he was scooped up by the goalie-happy New York Islanders.
As per the league’s collective bargaining agreement which states players signing a NHL-level contract to enter re-entry waivers and be available to teams at the lower priority as set by the League standings at the time the waiver request is submitted which allowed the Isles to have first dibs at the veteran goalie.
Nabokov then refused to report which would result in various stories surfacing claiming he had hung up on owner Charles Wang to stating he couldn’t help the Islanders in their league position. Despite all the nonsense the Islanders made it publicly known they would retain the rights to the player they had suspended for failing to report a season ago.
Since then not only has Nabokov began partcipating in unofficial workouts but has also got a new mask for his new team. The consensus remains throughout the league that Nabokov is only reporting in hopes of getting traded and going to a contender as he chases that elusive Stanley Cup he had given up on when signing in the KHL.
Generally when a player gets a new mask it shows he wants to stick around but I wouldn’t hold my breath if I were an Islanders fan as this saga is far from concluding.