Haas: Nabokov Not Getting It Done

by Jason Haas | Posted on Tuesday, December 16th, 2014
ENabokov (1)

Nabokov’s numbers are unacceptable.

A record of 3-4-1. A 2.99 goals against average. An .893 save percentage. These are not NHL level goalie statistics, yet here we are saddled with crumbling stopgap netminder Evgeni Nabokov. (Photo and Feature Box Photo/Christine Gunn)

Over the summer, I categorized Nabokov as a longshot for the Lightning and he was certainly not my preferred free agent acquisition. However, the one-year deal, combined with the exciting progress of prospects Andrei Vasilevskiy and Kristers Gudlevskis made his signing Ondrej Palatable.

Nabokov started off well enough, going 1-1 in his first two starts, while only surrendering three goals. After a positively horrendous outing in Minnesota, things have gone off the rails. After giving up four goals on eight shots and not even lasting until the end of the first period, he surrendered nine goals in his next two starts. I attended the game in Minnesota. Goalies have off nights. It happens. But what Nabokov displayed was purely bizarre, as he acted as if he was unsure that goals were scored when the puck went past him.

Prior to last night’s relief loss in Pittsburgh, Nabokov had two solid outings. One against Carolina and the other versus Buffalo. With Ben Bishop injured and Andrei Vasilevskiy recalled, it’s time to run with the kid and see what happens. It’s been GM Steve Yzerman’s modus operandi to go with whichever players give the team the best chance to succeed, regardless of age or experience. Nabokov has simply not inspired any confidence and should not be relied on as an NHL goaltender.

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Jason Haas
About the Author

Senior Writer Jason Haas is a native Michigander who came to Tampa after graduating college with an Advertising and Marketing degree. It seems as if fate intervened since he has shared his hockey fandom with the Lightning since 2002.

Displaying 7 Comments
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  1. Big Kahuna says:

    I respectfully disagree. Nabby is a seasoned veteran and I hope they don’t just throw Vasy to the wolves. He needs more seasoning and it would hurt his career should he get crushed up here.

  2. Tony V says:

    Sample size is too small and all but one start was on the end of a back-to-back road game. Last two appearances have been encouraging. Go with the vet and let the kid learn.

  3. Kendra says:

    Just a ridiculous article, I’m so glad you don’t coach the team.

  4. Jason Haas Jason Haas says:

    Thanks for reading guys. I’m not advocating we put Nabokov on waivers and keep AV, just that AV should be considered the starter while Bishop is out, unless he flounders.

    I’d like for him, as a backup, to string together more than two good games in a row. Goals given up from the beginning of the year: 2-1-4-4-5-1-1-3.

  5. Jason Haas Jason Haas says:

    Kendra, how is it ridiculous? I’m happy to hear everyone’s opinion. Mine is that he has not displayed the desired consistent effort from a guy who has been in the league for 14 years.

    Meanwhile you have an uber-prospect who is heating up in the minors. May as well give him a taste while Bishop is injured, which appears to be a short-term injury.

    • Kendra says:

      The season isn’t even at the halfway mark and he has been good over the last two or three games. I still think he is a better option than throwing in a rookie to get killed. Can’t believe Cooper is thinking of starting him tonight n that arena where they will tear this kid apart. Toughest arena to play n even for veterans. Vasilevskiy is the future and that hasn’t happened yet. Yes if Nabby stinks it up than maybe go to the kid.

  6. Jason Haas Jason Haas says:

    Good for two, bad for two…and that’s not acceptable IMO. Bishop is supposed to be healthy by the weekend. I say you give AV the start tonight and see how it goes. Nabby played most of yesterday’s game anyway.

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