Islanders Claim Nabokov Off Waivers

Evgeni Nabokov has been picked up off of waivers by the New York Islanders.  EDIT: Nabokov’s agent is now saying Nabokov won’t report to the Islanders.

Craig Custance, a hockey writer for the Sporting News, Tweeted the news of the waiver claim earlier today.

Able to Yzerman at KuklasKorner is on top of the story, which has now been confirmed by several sources including the Islanders themselves.

A statement issued by the Islanders says:

The New York Islanders have claimed goaltender Evgeni Nabokov off of waivers. Nabokov will play under the one-year contract that he signed with the Detroit Red Wings on Jan 20.

While at face value this doesn’t seem like it makes much sense for the Islanders, who sit near the bottom of the NHL standings, there’s definitely a reason behind it.  Last night Islanders goaltender Rick DiPietro sat out the Islanders’ game with flu-like symptoms and backup Nathan Lawson was injured during the first period.  He was replaced by Kevin Poulin in the second.

DiPietro isn’t exactly the healthiest goaltender in the league on his best day and after trading Dwayne Roloson to the Lightning a few weeks ago, the Islanders are pretty weak in goal.

This won’t send the Islanders into playoff contention by any means, but it does give them a solid starting goaltender for the rest of the season.

By the way, that sound you hear is the rest of the Western Conference breathing a sigh of relief.  The Detroit Red Wings are now in a tough situation as Chris Osgood is still several weeks from returning and Jimmy Howard is remains day-to-day with a knee injury.

Did the Jean-Sebastien Giguere market just open up?

*Update*

A source tells the Canadian Press that Evgeni Nabokov will not report to the New York Islanders.