Why the New York Islanders Absolutely Cannot Trade Evgeni Nabokov in Playoff Run

Michael DeSantis@@dtrain2495Senior Analyst IFebruary 15, 2012

UNIONDALE, NY - FEBRUARY 11:  Evgeni Nabokov #20 of the New York Islanders in action against the Los Angeles Kings on February 11, 2012 at Nassau Coliseum in Uniondale, New York. The Islanders defeated the Kings 2-1 in overtime.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

The Islanders have really been making a push for the playoffs as of late. This may shock some people, but as of now, the Islanders are only six points out of a playoff spot and have a game in hand on most teams ahead of them.

I'm not the first person who's said this, but the Islanders playoff run is largely owed to the play of Evgeni Nabokov. In the season so far, he has a 14-14 record, a .925 Save Percentage and a 2.24 Goals Against Average.

Over the past few weeks, he's had a lot of very solid games. One of of those include the 45-save shutout against the Philadelphia Flyers, where he had to make two more stops in the shootout. Another was a 23-save performance in a 2-1 overtime win against the Senators. He also had 34 saves in a 2-1 OT win against the Kings and 37 saves in a 3-1 victory over the Jets.

Needless to say, when the offense is napping, Nabokov is there to answer the bell. And the offense has been missing lately. In seven games this month, the Isles have only scored three goals twice. Yet, the Islanders have a 4-2-1 record, and most of that is thanks to Nabby.

Nabokov has several trade rumors surrounding him going towards the trade deadline. General manager Garth Snow probably has some moves up his sleeve, most likely to improve the offense.

But if the Isles are going to have any shot at the postseason, they must hold onto Nabokov. He's been the best Isles goalie by far. Yes, better than Al Montoya. Kevin Poulin made some "Get your feet wet" starts, and Rick DiPietro is obviously injured again.

Don't trade Nabby.