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Islanders Send Micheal Haley Back to Bridgeport; Evgeni Nabokov Off IR

An old favorite.
An old favorite.

The New York Islanders have returned Micheal Haley to the AHL Bridgeport Sound Tigers and removed goaltender Evgeni Nabokov from injured reserve. An official site story on Nabokov's rehab ends with the following:

With goaltender Rick DiPietro still out with no timetable after suffering a groin injury, and rookie netminder Kevin Poulin returned to the Bridgeport Sound Tigers just before 8 p.m. Sunday night, it looks like Nabokov is getting closer to his return.

As noted in the morning thread, the Islanders were 4-2-3 since recalling Haley, though he played in only four of those games (Isles went 2-1-1) while logging between 5-8 minutes of ice time. He was in the Trevor Gillies role albeit with more mobility and hands than the enforcer. By my count and shaky understanding of the NHL CBA's complex waiver table, Haley is still waiver-exempt for 27 more NHL games this season.

Michael Fornabaio had another interesting angle on Haley earlier, in that a certain number of NHL scratches would make him a Group VI unrestricted free agent this summer instead of an RFA (not like the bidding war would be fierce either way.

Here is how a Group VI (6) Free agent is defined in the CBA's 10.1 (c):

Means any Player who is age 25 or older who has completed three (3) or more professional seasons, whose SPC has expired and: (i) in the case of a Player other than a goaltender, has played less than 80 NHL Games, or (ii) in the case of a goaltender, has played less than 28 NHL Games (for the purpose of this definition, a goaltender must have played a minimum of thirty (30) minutes in an NHL Game to register a game played).

Haley is now 25 and in his fifth professional season (according to the definition they provide). Having played 29 NHL games coming into this season, by my math Haley would have had to play 51 this season (he's had four more so far) to reach that 80 game threshold to "avoid" Group 6 status. That means 47 more games as of today, and the Islanders have 55 games left on the schedule.

Haley's move was not necessary to bring Nabokov off IR, however; Kevin Poulin's return accomplished that. The Islanders are carrying just six defensemen, so even with three goalies and Nino Niederreiter on the shelf they still had room to carry Haley, if desired.

Nabokov last played Nov. 17 versus Montreal, when he left the game just eight minutes in with the groin injury. The Islanders face the Canadiens again tomorrow night.