The New York Islanders are in eighth place in the Metropolitan Division in large part because of their struggling defense and goaltending. Islanders starting goalie Evgeni Nabakov has had an up and down season this year, and it seems that being 38-years-old is starting to take a toll on him. Nabakov has been hurt for most of the year but was playing well before the Olympic Break. The question now is should the Islanders look to move him and let young goalie Kevin Poulin finish the season?
I personally think the Islanders should consider trading Nabakov if they continue to lose games when the regular season resumes. Holding onto him would be stupid for two reasons. First of all, the team could win more games with Nabakov in net and risk moving down in the draft. If the Islanders move out of the top ten they will forced to concede their draft first round pick to the Buffalo Sabres. Second, the Islanders should try evaluating Poulin to determine if he is the goalie of the future or not. I personally don’t think he is, but he did show glimpses of solid play when given an opportunity.
If the Islanders were to trade Nabakov, I think he would gain some interest from a few teams. If the Washington Capitals are not able to trade for Ryan Miller, I could see them wanting to add a veteran goalie. Also, teams could be looking to add a veteran backup for the playoffs, and Nabakov can be effective in that role. The Islanders should be able to get a second or third-round pick for Nabakov if they do decide to move him. I think GM Garth Snow will listen to offers for almost anyone on the team with the exception of John Tavares and Kyle Okposo. Only time will tell, but it should be interesting to see.