Monday, 24 January 2011

Claiming Nabokov a Curious Move

After the troubles the St. Louis Blues have had with waivers this month, I was curious to see if Evgeni Nabokov would actually play with the Detroit Red Wings after signing a one year deal following his departure from SKA St. Petersburg of the KHL. I assumed a team on the edge of a playoff spot would nab him up, but was shocked when he was claimed by the New York Islanders. Apparently, Nabokov was too, to the point that he may not report to the Islanders and hung up on GM Garth Snow.

I do not understand how claiming Nabokov helps the Islanders in any capacity. They have no chance of making the playoffs this year; I would understand if they were within shouting distance of a playoff spot, but they need to call long distance. If they were in the Carolina Hurricanes' spot, 9th place with 53 points and only three points behind the struggling Atlanta Thrashers, it would make total sense. In that case, he would provide them with stable, consistent goaltending with the ability to steal crucial games at an important time of the season. However, that is not the case.

This season has clearly become about developing young players and getting prepared for the future. Seeing how the deal is only for the rest of this season, so what can he possibly do to help them in the future? If they start winning games now, it won't matter because they still need almost every game remaining to make the playoffs. This move may actually hurt them because, let's say he does decide to join the Islanders and helps them win enough games to get them up to 10th in the Eastern Conference; that will only end up costing them another top 5 draft pick this June.

They should be focusing on trying to get youngsters Nathan Lawson and Kevin Poulin as much experience as possible. These are the players that will carry the Islanders (along with Rick DiPietro, but he spends most of his time on IR with a wonky groin) going forward. Picking up Nabokov is a strange move that doesn't only not help the present, but hurts their future and slows down the development of the young goalies in their system as well.

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