Nabokov backstopped Sharks to conference finals

Updated: July 16, 2004, 9:56 PM ET
Associated Press

Goalie Evgeni Nabokov, defenseman Scott Hannan and three teammates filed for arbitration with the San Jose Sharks on Thursday.

Nabokov went 31-19-8 with a 2.20 GAA and a .921 save percentage last season, revitalizing the former Calder Trophy winner's career. He led the Sharks to the best season in franchise history, the Pacific Division title and their first trip to the Western Conference finals, where they lost to the Calgary Flames.

Two years ago, Nabokov held out through training camp and the first five games of the regular season before getting a 2-year, $7.15 million contract. A decision on his arbitration case will be reached by Aug. 17, ensuring Nabokov will be in camp on time.

Nabokov, a native of Kazakhstan, received approval two weeks ago from the International Ice Hockey Federation to play for Russia in the 2006 Olympics.

Hannan had six goals and 15 assists last season, leading the Sharks in ice time and emerging as a defensive star in the playoffs.

Right wing Nils Ekman, backup goalie Vesa Toskala and enforcer Scott Parker also filed for arbitration. Ekman was the Sharks' second-leading scorer last season with 22 goals and 33 assists, though he slumped in the playoffs.

"Though they have filed for arbitration, we will continue to listen to their agents to find a settlement if one can be reached prior to the hearing," Sharks general manager Doug Wilson said. "This ensures that these five players will be in camp."

Center Wayne Primeau declined to file for arbitration. He had nine goals and 20 assists last season.

The Sharks lost forwards Curtis Brown and Mike Ricci to free agency earlier in the offseason. Brown signed with Chicago, and Ricci joined the Phoenix Coyotes.


Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press