With the ignominious way that Evgeni Nabokov’s time in Tampa Bay ended, it’s nice to see that things appear to be ending on a high note for the 39-year-old goaltender.
On Monday, the Bolts sent Nabokov back to the San Jose Sharks, where he was drafted in 1994, in a trade for future considerations. He will have a press conference Wednesday, where he is expected to announce his retirement.
Nabokov spent the first 10 years of his NHL career with the Sharks, leaving the organization after the 2009-10 season as the all-time franchise leader in wins (293), shutouts (50), goaltender minutes (32,490) and goaltender games (430). He even scored San Jose’s lone goaltender goal.
During his time in San Jose, the Sharks gained an unfortunate reputation as a team that crumbled in the postseason. They made the Western Conference semifinals seven times during his tenure and reached the conference final just twice, falling short of the Stanley Cup Final each time.
Nabokov struggled in 11 appearances for Tampa Bay this season before being placed on waivers last week.
This is undoubtedly a classy move by both organizations. Tampa Bay has provided Nabokov with a chance to retire in the sweater of the team he most impacted during his career, and San Jose has taken in one of their own to help him ride off into the sunset.
The last bit of Nabokov’s NHL journey may have been bittersweet, but this is certainly a happy ending to a very good career.
What does everybody else think?
Taylor Gaines can be reached at TGaines@hookedonhockey.com or on Twitter @GainesTaylor.