Haas: Nabokov Not Getting It Done
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.