Blog Entry

Free agent SNAFU

Posted on: January 24, 2011 12:49 pm

Funny how things can go wrong when everyone does everything right, isn’t it? Just ask the New York Islanders or Detroit Red Wings, or better yet, the St. Louis Blues.

One of the NHL’s most intriguing stories of the weekend happened not on the ice but in the executive suites of a couple of teams trying to get veteran goalie Evgeni Nabokov to play for them.  The upshot is that Nabokov is still sitting on the sidelines, which is probably better for the Islanders and the Red Wings than what happened to the Blues recently when they tried to bring a couple of free agents back from Europe.

In their cases, the Blues did all the leg work to bring Kyle Wellwood and Marek Svatos back to North America, and for their efforts saw both end up on rival Western Conference teams.

Still the machinations involving those players failed to create as much of a stir as those with the higher profile Nabokov, a one-time NHL rookie of the year for the San Jose Sharks and a brilliant regular season goalie who tended to come up short in the playoffs.  Nabokov’s his reputation didn’t put him in great demand last summer when any NHL team could have signed him as a free agent, resulting in the former Sharks star went back home to Russia to play in the KHL.

Nabokov, 36,  signed a lucrative contract in Russia, but fell out of favor with his club and was released at mid-season. The Red Wings, in need of a veteran presence when Chris Osgood got hurt, then worked out a deal with Nabokov, getting him at a bargain price, working out his transfer and giving him a chance to prove he can still play in the NHL. But since Nabokov played games in Europe this season, he had to clear waivers before he could join Detroit, and the Islanders grabbed him to help deal with the injury problems they are having between the pipes. 

And it was all unassailable because it was perfectly legal.

Problem is Nabokov wants to play for a contender and depending on whose version of the phone he got on the weekend from New York GM Garth Snow, essentially told the Isles to buzz off. So New York is being victimized even though. And so is Detroit, which put in the time and effort to negotiate a deal with Nabokov, ensure his transfer papers were in order and bring him over.

The Blues of course know that feeling too, even though, like everyone else, played by the rules. Even Nabokov, who is exercising his right as a free agent to choose where or where not to play.

But the rules have to change in this case because it’s not fair to have one team put in the time and money to get something done, and then lose the player in the end. The general managers around the league understand that it could happen to them, so don’t be surprised if they come up with some sort of tweak when they meet in Florida in March.

It doesn’t have to be a drastic change – some compensation to the team that works the original deal or putting restrictions on the waivers – would probably do the trick and could be enacted exoeditiously. Remember how quickly the GMs came up with something when head shots was on the table during their meeting last year.

Then, as now, it’s about protecting assets. And that’s something they all can agree on.


Category: NHL

Since: Jun 28, 2007
Posted on: January 26, 2011 8:26 pm

Free agent SNAFU


Nobokov could have signed with the Red Wings in the off season.  Oops, the Wings did not want him and neither did any other team. If there was no waiver process what would stop a team lets say the Blackhawks who had no cap space in the off season from telling a player we can't afford you now but in 3 or 4 months we can.  So go play overseas and we can sign you to a small amount of money in January and then we will resign you the next year for a bigger contract when we have more cap space.  Most players would not go for this, but it could happen.  I would not put it past any NHL team to try something like this if they thought it could work.  Maybe the waiver process is not the best way to go, but right now it is the best way to stop any cheating with players not on a NHL team at the start of the season.

Since: May 27, 2008
Posted on: January 26, 2011 4:33 pm

Free agent SNAFU

Johnmusach apprently didnt read this artical, Its is an issue and they do need to take care of the teams that put in all the work but in this case i feel worse for a vetrian player like Nabby who does have the talent level to go to a winning team. I think that if a playoff contending team offers you a contract and a team like the islanders or any one else that are out side and have no shot at the playoffs should have to up the contract amount. if a player takes a lesser contract because the value is in the possability of winning a championship its not fair to lose that value by being forced to sign with a team like the islanders.   And forcing a player to play on a team he wants nothing to do with makes no sense any way becuse that player will be gone as fast as he can get out of town when his contract is up anyway just on princpal alone.  No one wins in this situation the NHL needs to find a resonable salution that the players union and the NHL can agree on.

Since: Aug 29, 2007
Posted on: January 26, 2011 3:36 pm

Free agent SNAFU

You're a retard. Did you even read this article?

Since: Dec 12, 2009
Posted on: January 26, 2011 2:26 pm

Free agent SNAFU

....I agree...

This opinion by goldstien just goes to show that cbs needs to get a writer who knows and actually played the game of HOCKEY!!!!!

After reading this piece i am convinced that wes is a red wing fan since he does not like how the situation has ended up. The Islanders are playing by the rules that were put in place to stop this kind of practice that the red wings did in the past.....

Your bias has bled wes...which make for a horrible write matter what it is about....

Why was this taken off the boards goldburg???

Don't like being called out when you are wrong???

Since: Oct 8, 2009
Posted on: January 26, 2011 12:18 pm

Free agent SNAFU

They should scrap the waiver rule entirely and do what the AHL does. After December 15th they're inelligable until next season. That would enure that the concerns Habfan brought up are taken care of while still giving teams a chance to snag guys from overseas for about half the season.

Since: Apr 22, 2008
Posted on: January 26, 2011 11:48 am

Free agent SNAFU


Since: Apr 22, 2008
Posted on: January 26, 2011 11:48 am

Free agent SNAFU

Absolutely agree, WES doesn't think that far in advance, or comprehend why the rule was made in the first place.
Your comment explains that, why can't WES understand it.  Any player who is playing in any league can get picked up by a team for minimum payment for a playoff rental....NO WAY.  Clear waivers solves want back in you just don't come back to a team you want, especially if you have played for another league.  If he was just out there not playing, that would be a different story but he was in the KHL.

Since: Oct 10, 2006
Posted on: January 26, 2011 10:06 am

Free agent SNAFU

And you didn't even mention "exoeditiously" near the end of the article.

Since: Dec 15, 2006
Posted on: January 25, 2011 9:35 pm

Free agent SNAFU

Nabokov’s his reputation didn’t put him in great demand last summer when any NHL team could have signed him as a free agent, resulting in the former Sharks star went back home to Russia to play in the KHL.

Awesome editing.  Two grammatical errors in one sentence.  And this article has been up for almost 9 hours?!

Since: Jun 11, 2007
Posted on: January 25, 2011 8:07 pm

Free agent SNAFU

Here's a suggestion. Only allow players to come back between seasons, then the problem never arises.

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