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Earlier this week, the San Jose Sharks announced that they will not re-sign goaltender Evgeni Nabokov. The Russian goaltender has been with the Sharks since 1999, posting just less than 300 wins. Nabokov earned 5.3 million this past season, but General manager Doug Wilson has his reasons for letting him walk.

“If you look at the trends in this league the last four or five years in particular and the dollars that are dedicated to that position,” Wilson said. “If you’re dedicating $5 or $6 million, that’s coming out of somewhere else.”

He’s right. The Chicago Blackhawks won the Cup with Antti Niemi, who cost the team less than $900,000 this past season. Philadelphia made it to the finals with Brian Boucher and Michael Leighton, who only cost about 1.3 million…combined.

Not only that, but all three Vezina Trophy finalists were eliminated in the first round of the playoffs. Ryan Miller, Martin Brodeur, and Ilya Bryzgalov were all unable to lead their team past the first round.

The Sharks are now trying to implement a different strategy. San Jose has been swept in each of the last two seasons during the playoffs. San Jose believes they will be able to win without Nabokov, who posted 50 career shutouts with the club.

Nabokov posted at least 40 wins in each of the past three seasons, one of which he only played 62 games. Drafted in the 9th round, Nabokov was a huge part of the Sharks for years, but now he will get the chance to improve another team.

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Filed Under:   Nabokov   San Jose   Wilson   Niemi  
June 23, 2010 9:38 PM ET | Delete
It is a dumb strategy and a fluke yr. He can look forward to Greiss or another cheap fix, but this franchise is bleeding
June 23, 2010 10:16 PM ET | Delete
What ever happened to goalies winning series for you???
June 25, 2010 2:42 PM ET | Delete
first of all, if the sharks had any intestinal fortitude up-front, they'd have won a western conference final by now...every time the going got tough, most of the sharks went perimeter...my god, they got swept by the hawks, and that had very little to do with goaltending...their d was a mix of puck-movers and bottom-pairing d-men
June 25, 2010 2:45 PM ET | Delete
yes, they lacked depth up-front, but their forwards, in general, were "not built for the playoffs" (see thorton)...yet, all of a sudden they'll chase a trend and think that they can get by with average goaltendin?
June 25, 2010 2:47 PM ET | Delete
the reason that the flyers went far is a top-notch, top-four back-end, and a group of forwards who back-checked like banshees...not to mention that the shots they allowed were largely perimeter...not to mention that their first two series were vs. below-average offensive teams and the ecf saw them against a small-but-skilled team, who, btw, went far because of elite goaltending
June 25, 2010 2:49 PM ET | Delete
chicago had wheels and incredible depth up-front plus a very solid top-four back-end...when all else failed, they could turn on the after-burners and pot goals...lest we forget also that they had some top picks in a few drafts which guaranteed them quality
June 25, 2010 2:51 PM ET | Delete
in addition, both teams were top-notch up the middle: toews, sharp, bolland, madden; carter/briere, richards, giroux, betts...
June 25, 2010 2:54 PM ET | Delete
the build from the goal out has been proven that it consistently builds winners and cup contenders...the new-age cap-world, mediocre-goaltending trend has it's merits and is garnering a ton of attention in the media (see schoopsie's artilce on gr)...
June 25, 2010 2:56 PM ET | Delete
the sabres started led a post-lockout/new-nhl trend of soft-but-skilled, fast skaters...that trend lasted about a year-and-a-half when obstruction made its way back to the nhl...since then, they've failed to adapt...
June 25, 2010 3:02 PM ET | Delete
even if they were to follow the trend of an average goalie with big money going to skaters, they're about two years behind, and in two years they'll have caught up and who knows what the trend will be then...screw chasing trends (and screw schoopsie as well)...continue building from the goal out and spend your #1 picks on players with hockey-sense, will, hopefully a lot of talent, and an edge...
June 25, 2010 3:27 PM ET | Delete
There is more going on in the front office of the San Jose Sharks, then just following the belief a veteran goaltender can be found for less money. Doug Wilson has proved he can find talented hockey players at decent prices. However, I would agree with you on Griess, I have watched a few games he played in and he is really rough.
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