Isles Grab The Best Goalie Available – Welcome Back, Evgeni Nabokov

By Chris Triantafilis

NHL Free Agency kicked off on Saturday afternoon. Once the clock struck 12:00 PM, the New York Islanders made the first splash of the day.

With no time to waste, the Islanders announced they had re-signed Evgeni Nabokov to a one-year deal worth $3.25M, keeping their starting goalie of the past two seasons. Typically, this was not the news many Islanders’ fans wanted to hear [at all], but pipe-dreams aside, it should have been clear that Garth Snow did what was best for the organization.

Keeping Nabokov on the Island for one more year wasn’t the ideal situation, but the Islanders tried to have it another way. The Islanders reportedly offered a package for Jonathan Bernier. When Roberto Luongo was put on the market, the Islanders gave Vancouver a way out of his contract, and when Vancouver’s thought process shifted to moving Cory Schneider, the Islanders were in on that, too. Even Ray Emery was going to be receiving an offer from the Islanders, but that became moot when it became apparent that Emery wanted to return to Philadelphia because he had enjoyed his previous time there.

When the dust settled, the Islanders’ options were limited. The UFA market was either unreasonable or unsuitable for Garth Snow’s team. The pickings were slim. Nabokov’s resume stood over every other available goaltender’s resume, and it was not even close.

So, when given the option to either downgrade or remain status quo, the Islanders chose the latter. Garth Snow chose to bring Nabokov back to the Isles for one more season, giving the younger goalies within the system more time to develop, while holding out for potentially better options next year – you know, when Ryan Miller, Jonas Hiller, Jaroslav Halak, and all those other goalies you wanted the Islanders to give up assets for now become available as unrestricted free agents.

Evgeni Nabokov isn’t the best goaltender in the NHL, and at his age, he most likely never will be. With a larger plan that involves more than just a goalie, though, Garth Snow is keeping his Islanders from falling backwards. Out of what was left in a remarkably weak free agent class, Nabokov, who went 23-11-7 last year, gives the Islanders their best opportunity to win games during the 2013-14 season..

For one more season, In Nabby We Trust.

Can you deal with Evgeni Nabokov in the Islanders’ crease for one more season?