Despite being bought out from a 10-year $87.5 million contract with the New York Islanders, former NHL star Alexei Yashin is still close with general manager Garth Snow and owner Charles Wang. In an interview with Fanhouse, Yashin tells Christopher Botta that he gave Snow a positive review of fellow countryman Evgeni Nabokov prior to the Islanders plucking him off of waivers.
Although Yashin is now a member of St. Petersburg SKA of the KHL, he is still technically the Islanders’ highest paid player by collecting $4.75 million just to stay away. Perhaps Garth Snow leveraged Yashin’s knowledge of Nabokov in an effort to save some money by not hiring real scouts. Whatever the case, Yashin remains positive about his experience on Long Island and even visits Wang in the offseason when he’s in New York.
According to Yashin, Snow had contacted him when the club was contemplating the move to nab Nabokov from the Detroit Red Wings as he passed through waivers.
“He wanted to know what I thought of Nabby and his play over the years in the NHL and in the KHL this season. Nabby’s a great guy and has been a great goalie for a long time. I just expressed my opinion that his performance would be a positive for the Islanders.”
The two-time 40 goal scorer was happy to share his opinion on Nabokov, but wouldn’t go as far to call him and try and influence his decision to join the Islanders. The first ever draft pick in Ottawa Senators history referenced his messy holdout from 1999-2000 as reminder that we never really know everything that goes into a player’s decision to not play for a certain team.
“I haven’t called Nabby… I don’t know all of the issues that went into his decision. I feel like it’s his call and people on the outside like myself should not get involved. I went through something a little similar when I chose to not play for the Ottawa Senators when I still had a year left on my contract. There were a lot of factors that people did not know about. I didn’t think it was right to call Nabby and try and tell him what I think he should do.”
Whatever the case was with Yashin’s preemptive removal from Long Island, the KHL all-star has no hard feelings towards the team (maybe it’s the paycheque).
“In my five seasons there, we made the playoffs four years. That’s pretty good, but it’s not enough. I wished we developed into more of a success, but I only have positive things to say about the Islanders, Long Island, the fans and ownership. I still root for the Islanders.”
Alexei Yashin is in the final year of his contract with SKA. The KHL all-star game goes February 5th in St. Petersburg where Yashin will hold the distinction as the Russian captain and square off against World captain Jaromir Jagr.