(Ed. Note: Quick clarification here. The headline may be read as the Sharks using their Web site to tell Nabby he won't be re-signed, and if you followed the link you'll that that wasn't the case. This wasn't a "break up via text message" deal here.)
Evgeni Nabokov(notes) never earned a championship in his 10 seasons with the San Jose Sharks, but it appears he's at least earned the privilege of a public explanation for why his services are no longer needed with the franchise.
In an unusual move, the Sharks posted a message on their Web site explaining "a scenario they've previously dealt with in the NHL's salary cap era, but not quite at this level." They announced that they're "going forward with a new goaltending situation next year" and that Nabokov, an unrestricted free agent, "will not be back in teal."
(From now on, we're imagining that last line as GM Doug Wilson's version of "You're fired!" or "Please pack your knives and go.")
From the Sharks, here's Doug Wilson on his now-former goalie:
Having this decision in hand allows Wilson to be proactive on potential contracts for current players such as Patrick Marleau(notes), Joe Pavelski(notes), Scott Nichol(notes), Manny Malhotra(notes), Niclas Wallin(notes) and Devin Setoguchi(notes). This direction will give San Jose flexibility in other areas as well.
"We would like to thank Nabby for the time he has spent in San Jose," said Wilson. "Nabby has been a big part of this team for the past 10 seasons and played an important role is our successes. This decision boils down to a dedication of dollars in a salary cap system and under this system, teams can't keep everyone. We are excited about the goaltenders coming up through our system and we will also keep an eye on assets that may become available in the coming weeks."
Congratulations for coming to your senses, Mr. Wilson. Nabokov was a fabulous regular-season goalie with an affinity for soul-crushing moments of underwhelming play during the postseason. Through the Sharks' years of futility in the playoffs, he's been the constant. It wasn't worth reinvesting in that for another $5.4 million against the cap or higher.
But now, the Sharks need a goalie. Thomas Greiss(notes) is under contract, and AHL keeper Alex Stalock(notes) is, according to PJ from Sharkspage, "probably the best goaltending prospect the Sharks have had in the pipeline since Kiprusoff and Nabokov."
Is it possible they'll go with that tandem next season and allocate Nabokov's funds to re-sign veteran players and add depth to the blue line? Have Michael Leighton(notes) and Antti Niemi(notes) shifted the paradigm for goaltending on Cup contenders?
And if so: Who is paying Nabokov?
Stick-tap to Puck Buddy Bryan O. for the tip.