Apr 26, 2013; Buffalo, NY, USA; New York Islanders goalieEvgeni Nabokov
(20) during the game against the Buffalo Sabres at the First Niagara Center. Sabres beat the Islanders 2-1 in a shootout. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports
Astoria, NY – And with a single tweet from New York Islanders beat writer Arthur Staple yesterday evening, the relative quiet of the Isles’ offseason was shattered:
"#Isles have no decision on buyouts (i.e., DiPietro) as of now. As for Nabokov, source says he is “probably” headed to FA next week.—@StapeNewsday, 5:36PM – 26 June 13"
Staple was doing what he does best: reporting the news as it relates to the NHL team based in Uniondale, NY. While not necessarily unthinkable, it had been assumed to that point that Islanders starting netminder Evgeni Nabokov would be re-signed by the team to an inexpensive one-year contract.
That is, until the veil of silence surrounding GM Garth Snow’s offseason bunker—I’m assuming he has one, no one’s proven otherwise yet—was lifted when Staple reported that the Isles and Nabokov were struggling to “find the middle ground” on a deal.
Staple followed up the breaking news with two more tweets stating Nabokov would like to remain on Long Island, and that he hopes a deal can still get done. As this type of news so often does, it created a miniature firestorm among Isles fans on the Twitter machine.
Rumors surrounding a trade for Vancouver Canucks goaltender Roberto Luongo were reignited; speculation began that Phoenix Coyotes goalie Mike Smith was Uniondale-bound; Boston Bruins backup netminder Anton Khudobin’s name was tossed around as a possible replacement for the soon-to-be-departed Nabokov.
Even former Isles poster boy Rick DiPietro was even seen boarding a train from Bridgeport, CT with his goaltending gear in tow, saying something along the lines of, “Just got a call from Garth. Said he needs me to be in Syosset by tomorrow!”
Clearly, that last one is fake. (Or is it? The twitter machine has a way of warping reason when it comes to NHL trades. I don’t even know if I’m on Earth anymore.)
What isn’t explicitly stated in Staple’s tweet is that Snow has a backup plan in place if the team isn’t able to bring Nabokov back on a cost-effective deal. The subtext is that when Islanders contract or trade talks become public knowledge, Snow is already two steps ahead of the press.
With that in mind, let’s not assume it’s the end of the world that Nabokov hasn’t been re-upped for the 2013-14 NHL season yet. Who’s to say it can’t still happen after the Draft? The important thing to note is that the Islanders will survive.
Even if everyone online feels like the sky is falling.
Islanders Summer Report Card: John Tavares (EyesOnIsles)
Picking Prospects: Wennberg a Swede Match With the Islanders (Eyes On Isles)
Fansided Off-Season Q&A: Florida Panthers (EyesOnIsles)
Nabokov Likely to Test Free Agent Market (Islanders Point Blank)
Floating Around The Twitter-Sphere
All signs point to the Islanders and Nabokov wanting to get a deal done, despite the current difficulties both sides are having on agreeing on a dollar figure for the netminder’s services. Andre brings up a good point here: the last time Nabokov tested the free agency waters, he went unsigned. Food for thought (mostly for Nabokov and his agent).
For those confident that DiPietro’s name will appear on the SportsCenter ticker followed by the words “has been bought out by the New York Islanders,” don’t set your DVRs just yet. The business aspect of a compliance buyout is such that even if the fans want the Isles to buy out DiPietro’s contract, Snow has no real incentive to do so at present. Time will tell if and when the Islanders front office makes use of the CBA’s new amnesty clause.
June 26, 2009: a day that will live in Islanders history. And that’s not an overstatement. With the selection of John Tavares, the Isles began a slow and steady rebuild that has finally shown results. With the team making the playoffs for the first time since 2007, the fan base has been revitalized. The future is bright on Long Island, a sentiment first felt on that Draft night four years ago.
And here’s your requisite EyesOnIsles On Air Alert: our resident editor and social media director took his talents to the SND Podcast to discuss the Stanley Cup finals and the NHL Entry Draft. Be sure to check their tweets today for the link to last night’s episode.
These. Are. Fantastic.
As always, thanks for reading us at EyesOnIsles. Keep it right here for all of your NHL offseason coverage and up-to-the-minute Islanders news. Be sure to check the menu bar at the top of the page for ways to connect with the EyesOnIsles staff; we’re always happy to talk hockey.