According to a report by Tim Panaccio on CSNPhilly.com, the Philadelphia Flyers have made the first step toward possibly solving their goaltending issue, as they have acquired Evgeni Nabokov from the San Jose Sharks.
The reported deal would see the Flyers send a 2011 seventh-round pick to the Sharks if they can sign Nabokov before he becomes an unrestricted free agent July 1.
Nabokov has a no-trade clause in his contract, but since the Sharks already have said they will not be offering him a new deal, the report says he is willing to waive it if a deal can be done with the Flyers.
Nabokov will turn 35 this summer, but he's won at least 41 games each of the past three seasons, including 44 in 2009-10, when he posted a 2.43 goals-against average and .922 save percentage.
In 10 seasons with the Sharks, who drafted Nabokov in the ninth round of the 1994 Entry Draft, he has 293 wins, 50 shutouts, a 2.39 GAA and .912 save percentage.
However, he's only 40-38 lifetime in the playoffs, and only once in the last five seasons has he taken the talent-laden Sharks past the second round of the playoffs. He allowed 12 goals in four games as the Sharks were swept by the Chicago Blackhawks in the Western Conference Final.
Asked by Panaccio if he were optimistic something will happen with San Jose, Holmgren paused and replied, "I don’t know."
The Flyers dressed seven goalies last season, and watched the season end in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final with Michael Leighton allowing Patrick Kane's sharp-angle shot in overtime go under his left pad and into the net, costing the Flyers a chance at their first NHL championship since 1975. Leighton also can become an unrestricted free agent on July 1. Backup Brian Boucher has one year left on his deal, and the club is very high on Swedish goalie Johan Backlund, who just signed a new two-year contract.
If this deal happens, it would be the second time in recent weeks the Flyers have acquired the rights to an impending free agent. On June 19 Philadelphia acquired defenseman Dan Hamhuis from the Nashville Predators for defenseman Ryan Parent, but with Holmgren unlikely to reach a deal, he sent Hamhuis to the Pittsburgh Penguins following the first round of the 2010 Entry Draft on Friday, in exchange for a 2011 third-round pick.
Holmgren obviously is hoping for more success this time, but according to the CSNPhilly.com report, Nabokov's agent, Don Meehan, has said it might not be "feasible" to get a deal done before July 1.