San Jose Sharks
6' 200 pounds
Jeff Vinnick/Getty Images
Nabokov rebounded from a down year and a relatively slow start this season to play at the top of his game for the better part of the schedule.
Nabokov isn't afraid to flaunt his excellent glove hand. He likes to flash out with a little panache once the puck is firmly in hand.
He is an underrated shooter and passer of the puck. Nabokov generally makes quick decisions and crisp plays in fielding the puck. He will surprise on breakaways by aggressively thrusting his stick forward to force the shooter to make a decision. Nabokov is just as liberal with the use of his goal stick in and around his crease.
Nabokov exhibits fine first save fundamentals with his pads. He is a challenger, so instead of letting the puck come to him, Nabokov often makes a leg move to the puck, which generates unnecessary rebounds.
Nabokov is the most aggressive early setup goalie in the league. He boldly takes his position at the top of his crease -- sometimes even further out than that -- daring the shooter to pound away. He is susceptible to rebounds, though, partly because of his forward setup and partly because he often reaches and extends his leg in the direction of the rebound instead of pushing laterally.
Nabokov has a series win to his credit and in this year's postseason, that counts as experience among the many neophyte netminders making their first playoff appearances as starters.