January 20, 2011
UPDATE: The Red Wings announce Nabokov has signed a 1-year deal.
Ansar Khan of MLive.com reported Thursday night that the Detroit Red Wings and goalie Evgeni Nabokov(notes), late of the San Jose Sharks, were "extremely close" on a contract that would pay him a prorated salary of about $250,000, a figure first reported by TSN's Darren Dreger.
The 10-year NHL veteran would have to pass through waivers in signing with the Wings because he began the season with SKA St. Petersburg of the KHL.
Therein lies the problem for Detroit, according to Khan:
At that price, he likely will be claimed by another team. "I wouldn't get my hopes too high; the contract is peanuts,'' a source said. "Anyone in need of a goaltender will put in a claim. Somebody in the West might say, 'I don't want Detroit to pick him up.'"
The Red Wings did not offer a multiyear deal with bonuses or a no-trade clause to discourage other clubs from putting in a claim for Nabokov because they don't want to be committed to him past this season without having seen how he will fare.
Earlier today, George Malik had an interesting theory on A2Y about the Red Wings' motivations in signing Nabokov for peanuts:
It's entirely possible that the Wings know that Nabokov would be picked up on waivers, and are simply performing a courtesy signing for the team that would snag him--it bears mentioning that the as-presently-configured Wings will be dangerously close to the salary cap again when Pavel Datsyuk(notes), Mike Modano(notes), Brad Stuart(notes) and Dan Cleary return--for "future considerations," i.e. to grease the wheels for a depth-making trade for a defenseman or forward at the deadline, if not, should we start to receive reports that he's pulled a Ville Leino(notes) and tuned out the coaches, a Jiri Hudler(notes) trade.
Matt Saler also has a great running post on the Nabby news at On The Wings.
Left Wing Lock has the waivers order as of today in the NHL; which team do you think would snag Nabokov? Or is there a chance he still ends up as a Red Wing?