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Thursday July 8, 2010 4:37 pm

Evgeni Nabokov leaves the San Jose Sharks and returns to Mother Russia

Posted by Adrien Griffin Categories: Athletes, NHL,

Evgeni NabokovThe Russians got another one back. Evgeni Nabokov, the now former goaltender of the San Jose Sharks is going back to his homeland to play for SKA St. Petersburg in the Continental Hockey League. His departure does not hurt the Sharks at all, as they had not offered him a new contract after his former one expired at the end of the 2009-10 NHL season, but it does hurt hockey on the whole, as the KHL has one another small battle in the war for skilled players.

Nabokov, who had spent his entire NHL career with the Sharks, had one of the best regular seasons of his career. This past year he had a 44-16-10 record with three shutouts. He had a goals against average of 2.43 and a save percentage of .922; both improvements on his previous year’s totals. Nabokov earned $6 million in his final season with San Jose, and it has not yet been reported how much he will earn with St. Petersburg.

The issue for Nabokov is that he is not known as a playoff goaltender; he’s far from it, actually. He has a career 40-39 playoff record with a 2.29 goals against average and .914 save percentage. They’re not terrible numbers, but San Jose’s playoff results in the last few seasons are clearly indicative of his and his team’s ability to shut down the better playoff players and teams, and it just wasn’t good enough for the franchise or the fans.

So goodbye to Evgeni Nabokov. Despite the fact that he will be 35 years old at the start of the next NHL season and it’s likely that his best days are behind him, he is still one of the most recognizable goalies on the NHL landscape and his loss is another blow in the war between the NHL and he KHL. Still, the NHL would probably prefer that somebody in Nabokov leaves as opposed to a younger, North American star like Sidney Crosby or Zack Parise. If that day ever comes, the NHL is really going to have an issue on their hands to deal with.



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