Flyers have a verbal deal for Nabokov

Evgeni Nabokov may become the newest goaltender in the Philadelphia Flyers organization. (Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

Evgeni Nabokov may become the newest goaltender in the Philadelphia Flyers organization. (Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

The number one concern for Philadelphia Flyers fans this off-season was between the pipes. Now it looks like the problem has been solved, at least, for this season.

According to league sources, the Flyers have a verbal agreement in place with the San Jose Sharks regarding free-agent goaltender Evgeni Nabokov.

If the Flyers sign Nabokov before July 1, the Sharks will receive a seventh-round pick in 2011 in return.

The Russian net-minder has been a Shark his entire nine-year NHL career. This past season, he was second in the league in wins (44), 10th in goals-against average (2.43) and sixth in save-percentage (.922).

Nabokov has played in 563 games during his career, posting 293 wins and 50 shutouts in the process. He also has a 2.39 goals-against average and .912 save-percentage.

The Sharks have been known to have early exits in the playoffs, so Nabokov has only played in 80 games in nine of the Sharks’ playoff appearances. With only a mediocre 40-38 record, he is still able to post a decent 2.56 goals-against average and .907 save-percentage.

The 2010 Winter Olympics was a bad showing for him. In only four games, he had a 4.16 goals-against average and .853 save-percentage.

Nabokov won the Calder in 2001 and was a finalist for the Vezina in 2008. He has also been names to the NHL All-Rookie Team in 2001, the NHL First All-Star Team in 2008 and has appeared in the All-Star Game in 2001 and 2008. At the 2008 IIHF World Championship, he was voted the best goalkeeper.

The big concern is how well Nabokov will play. Will he play as well as he did in the regular season for the Sharks? Or will the his playoff trend continue?

If the Flyers do sign Nabokov, the question then becomes what happens to goaltenders Michael Leighton, who is due to become an unrestricted free agent July 1, and Brian Boucher, who is under contract with the Flyers until 2011.

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Categories: Ice Hockey, NHL, Sports

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