"The circle is coming to an end and I'm happy to retire as a Shark." -Evgeni Nabokov. #SJSharks #ThanksNabby pic.twitter.com/yCtOmrRL0q
— San Jose Sharks (@SanJoseSharks) February 11, 2015
SAN JOSE, CA – San Jose Sharks (@SanJoseSharks) Goaltender Evgeni Nabokov today formally announced his retirement from the game of hockey, completing 14 stellar seasons in the National Hockey League – ten of which he spent as a member of the San Jose Sharks.
Nabokov, 39, holds nearly every major San Jose Sharks franchise goaltending record, including: games played (563), wins (293) and shutouts (50).
“Growing up in Kazakhstan in the 1980’s, I never could have dreamed of making it to the NHL and playing against the best players in the world,” said Nabokov. “I’m really proud to be able to finish my career where I started in San Jose and where I had my best years. This is my home and this is where my heart is.”
Nabokov finishes his remarkable career ranked 18th on the NHL’s all-time wins list (353), 17th in shutouts (59) and 25th in games played by a goaltender (697).
He also appeared in 86 career Stanley Cup Playoff games (22nd all-time), and ranks 23rd all-time in postseason wins (42) and T-20th in postseason shutouts (7). He helped lead the Sharks to two of their three franchise Western Conference Final appearances (2004, 2010).
Among active NHL goaltenders at the time of his retirement, Nabokov ranked second in wins, games played and shutouts behind only Roberto Luongo.
In 697 career NHL games with San Jose, the New York Islanders and Tampa Bay Lightning, Nabokov posted a 353-227-29-71 record, with a 2.44 goals-against average, a .911 save percentage and 59 shutouts.
During the 2001 season, Nabokov became a fixture in the Sharks goal crease, making at least 50 starts in eight of the next nine seasons. From 2000-2010, only New Jersey’s Martin Brodeur won more games (358) than Nabokov (291).
Originally drafted by San Jose in the ninth round (219th overall) of the 1994 NHL Draft – the 22nd goaltender taken that year – he leads all goalies selected in that draft in NHL career games played, wins and shutouts.
His finest season was in 2007-08 when he led the NHL in wins (46), was third in goals-against average (2.14) and tied-for-third with six shutouts. He finished as the runner-up for the Vezina Trophy as the NHL’s top goaltender, was named to the 2007-08 NHL First All-Star Team and was selected to play in the NHL All-Star Game. He also finished seventh in voting for the Hart Trophy, awarded to the NHL’s most valuable player. His 46 wins that season were the fourth-most in a single-season in NHL history and his 77 appearances was the third-most in NHL history.
On March 10, 2002 in Vancouver, he became just the seventh goaltender (first of European descent) to score a goal. He was the first NHL goalie to score while his team was on a power play.
In 2001, his first full NHL season, Nabokov was the recipient of the Calder Memorial Trophy as the League’s Rookie of the Year, was named as the goaltender for the 2000-01 NHL All-Rookie Team and selected to play in the NHL All-Star Game.
“Nabby” was a three-time NHL Player of the Month, a three-time NHL Player of the Week and a two-time NHL Rookie of the Month. In addition, he was named the Sharks “Player of the Month” 11 times and Sharks “Player of the Year” twice (2001, 2008).
Nabokov made his NHL debut on Jan. 1, 2000 at Nashville, and in his first NHL start on Jan. 19, 2000, he dueled future Hall-of-Famer Patrick Roy to a 0-0 tie in Colorado, making 39 saves.
“Nabby’s playing career is well-documented, as is his impact on our organization as a player and a teammate,” said Wilson. “As a ninth round draft pick, he was never given anything. Instead, he carved out a fantastic career on hard work, fortitude and perseverance. It’s a special day to be able to welcome home one of the most beloved players in Sharks history.”
Internationally, the native of Kamenogorsk, Kazakhstan, represented Russia on the international stage several times in his career. He served as Russia’s starting goaltender in the 2006 (1.34 goals-against average) and 2010 Winter Olympics and also played for Russia in two World Championships (2008, 2011). In the 2008 World Championships, he led Russia to a gold medal, posting a 1.78 goals-against average while being voted to the Media All-Star Team, named Russia’s top player and voted “Best Goalkeeper” in the tournament. He also was named to Russia’s roster for the 2004 World Cup of Hockey.
Nabokov also played in his native Russia in 2004-05 with Metallurg and with SKA St. Petersburg of the KHL in 2010-11.
Nabokov and his family will reside in San Jose.