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Stanley Cup Final

Red Wings reach deal with Nabokov

Friday, 01.21.2011 / 1:31 AM / News

NHL.com

The Detroit Red Wings announced Thursday that they have agreed to a one-year contract with goalie Evgeni Nabokov. Multiple media reports say the deal is worth $570,000.

But signing Nabokov is just the first part of the process -- the Wings now have to wait and see if another NHL team claims him on waivers.

The former San Jose Sharks star began the season playing in Russia's Kontinental Hockey League, so he'll have to clear waivers to end up with the Wings. He'll go on waivers at noon Friday and any NHL team will have 24 hours to claim him.

"He's not our player, so when he becomes our player then I'll talk about him," coach Mike Babcock told the media after Thursday's 4-3 win in St. Louis. "In the meantime, as an organization, even though we've signed him, until he clears waivers and becomes a Red Wing there's no sense talking about him."

There's a good possibility the 35-year-old goaltender will be claimed. St. Louis recently signed forwards Marek Svatos and Kyle Wellwood, only to lose both on waivers -- Svatos to Nashville and Wellwood to San Jose.

The Wings are looking for goaltending help. Starter Jimmy Howard returned Thursday after missing six days with a bruised knee, and backup Chris Osgood is out indefinitely after undergoing sports hernia surgery.

Joey MacDonald, the starter with the Wings' AHL team in Grand Rapids, played while Howard and Osgood were out and backed up Howard Thursday night. Rookie Thomas McCollum, who had backed up MacDonald, is also out with a broken finger.

Nabokov, a native of Kazakhstan, was considered one of the top goaltenders on the free agent market after finishing last season with a 44-16-10 record, 2.43 goals-against average and three shutouts for San Jose. However, no club offered him a contract in the off-season and he opted to play in Russia, only to be released from a four-year, $24 million deal last month.

The ninth-round pick of the Sharks in the 1994 Entry Draft spent all 10 of his NHL seasons with San Jose and was 293-178-29-37 with a 2.39 GAA and 50 shutouts. He led the Sharks to the Western Conference Finals last spring.

I've been getting frustrated lately, and the only thing keeping me sane was the team winning and other people stepping up and scoring. Then you just kind of let it go and realize you can end the series with one shot, that frustration goes away for a brief moment, and that's what happened.

— Montreal forward Max Pacioretty after scoring the series-winner in Game 4 -- his first career playoff goal -- to eliminate the Lightning and send the Canadiens into the second round