Isles snatch Nabokov from Red Wings

SPORTS NETWORK

, Last Updated: 5:20 PM ET

UNIONDALE - Evgeni Nabokov won't be playing for the Red Wings after all, as the New York Islanders claimed the veteran goaltender after he had agreed to a one-year contract with Detroit on Friday.

Despite signing the contract with Detroit, Nabokov still needed to clear waivers before he could play for the Red Wings, who have had goaltender injury issues of late. The Islanders, who have their own goaltender problems, decided to snap him off the waiver wire.

Rick DiPietro has started 18 games for the Islanders, but has been slowed by a groin injury, leaving rookies Kevin Poulin and Nathan Lawson to handle some of the netminding chores. Lawson left Friday night's game in Buffalo with a left knee injury, while DiPietro is also currently battling the flu.

The Red Wings are also in need of goaltending help. Jimmy Howard returned on Thursday after missing about a week because of a bruised knee and veteran Chris Osgood is expected to be sidelined a few more weeks while recovering from surgery for a sports hernia. Detroit has been recalling goaltenders Joey MacDonald and Jordan Pearce from its AHL affiliate in Grand Rapids.

It's not the first time the Islanders have been involved in a goaltender waiver snatch. In January 2009, New York signed Wade Dubielewicz to help its injury-riddled situation, but he had to go through waivers and Columbus claimed him.

Nabokov, who starred for the past 10 years with the San Jose Sharks, began this season in Russia's Kontinental Hockey League after he was not offered a contract by an NHL team last summer as a free agent. He was released from a reported four-year, $24 million deal in Russia last month, but his stint overseas necessitated his placing on waivers.

A native of Kazakhstan, Nabokov was considered one of the top goaltenders on the market after finishing the 2009-10 season with a 44-16-10 record, 2.43 goals-against average and three shutouts for San Jose.

Nabokov, a ninth-round pick of the Sharks in the 1994 draft, spent all 10 of his NHL seasons with San Jose and has a record of 293-178-37 with 29 ties, a 2.39 GAA and 50 shutouts in 563 games. He was the 2001 Calder Trophy winner as the league's top rookie.

Though a capable and oftentimes dominant netminder, Nabokov bore the brunt of San Jose's repeated playoff flame-outs in recent seasons. Last spring, San Jose managed to reach the conference finals for the first time since 2004, but was wiped out in a four-game sweep by eventual Cup champion Chicago.


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