Ever since the beginning of training camp, maybe even before, the assumption has been the Islanders will trade Nabokov as soon as they get what they believe is acceptable value. I was all for that at the beginning.
But why now is everyone still under this assumption? He is playing lights out and this team is winning a lot of games lately. DiPietro is finished, so throw him out of any discussions. Poulin and Nillson are not ready to be number 1's and most likely are at least 2 more seasons away from being ready. So that leaves Montoya and Nabokov as the only legitimate full time NHL goalies in this organization. And all due respect to Montoya, but he is not any near as established as Nabokov. He has played well in his very limited time here, but he has a very small sample size.
Nabokov is only 36, which is not that old for goaltenders anymore. We have seen plenty of examples of goaltenders playing at a high level until they are 40. Nabokov has proven to be a great regular season goaltender. Yes, he has not always had the most success in the playoffs, but just getting TO the playoffs is what this organization needs to do by the end of next season.
I believe that Nabokov would be the perfect stop gap until Poulin (who I personally believe is going to be the future number 1 goaltender of this organization) is ready. I would offer him a 2 year contract. No one else is going to offer him that. Make it very similar to the Roloson contract from a few years ago. It gives Nabokov security, and it give the Islanders a proven NHL All Star goaltender for the next two years.
Now, he may say "no" to the Islanders. I don't believe he would say "no" to a 2 year contract at 37, but that is a possibility. If he does not want to sign here, then Montoya gets the nod. But to just automatically trade Nabokov at the deadline this year is absurd and seems to be based soley on spite because of what happened last year. Last year is in the past and cannot be undone. But this year he showed up and has played his butt off. He was not complaining early in the year when he was not getting many starts. Now that he had his opportunity, he made the most of it. You cannot ask for anything else out of a player. He has earned the contract and I believe it should be offered to him. Of course, if some team comes along and offers a 1st round pick for him at the deadline, then obviously the trade needs to be made. But as we have seen over the past few years, the trade value of goaltenders is very low. The most he would get is a 3rd round pick. I don't believe that is enough to trade a 300 win goaltender soley for spite.