Home > NHL, Pacific Division, Western Conference > San Jose Says Good-bye to Nabokov

San Jose Says Good-bye to Nabokov

The San Jose Sharks announced on Tuesday their decision not to retain long time goaltender Evgeni Nabokov.  The choice to let Nabokov become an unrestricted free agent no doubt had many factors; including money and unmet expectations.  Yet, Nabokov left his mark with the Sharks that will not soon be forgotten.

Drafted in the ninth round of the 1994 NHL Entry Draft, Nabokov spent two full seasons with the Kentucky Thoroughblades (now Worcester Sharks) of the American Hockey League (AHL).  He posted 10 wins in his first season and 26 in his second year with Kentucky.  In 2000-01 Nabokov spent his first full season with the San Jose Sharks and earned a record of 32-21-7.  He had a goals against average of 2.19 and save percentage of 0.915; good enough to name him the Calder Memorial Trophy winner for Rookie of the Year.

For the next eight seasons, Nabokov manned the nets for the San Jose Sharks, but the team never reached their ultimate goal of winning the Stanley Cup.  While the fault cannot be completely laid at Nabokov’s feet, public perception made him somewhat of a scapegoat.

Having spent his entire career with one organization will make July 1st an unusual feeling for Nabokov, but the goaltender likely will not have a long wait before he finds a new home.  San Jose may turn to younger and cheaper options such as Thomas Greiss, Tyson Sexsmith or perhaps even Alex Stalock.  It’s a new era for the Sharks and it’s a new opportunity for Evgeni Nabokov.

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