Mar 7, 2014; Calgary, Alberta, CAN; New York Islanders goalie Evgeni Nabokov (20) guards his net during the warmup period against the Calgary Flames at Scotiabank Saddledome. Calgary Flames won 4-3. Mandatory Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

Happy Birthday, Evgeni Nabokov!

Today is a special day here in Hockey Paradise. First of all, with another day in the books, it means that we are one day closer to the beginning of the 2014-15 Tampa Bay Lightning hockey season; however, that is not the only thing that makes today special.

July 25th means that it’s the birthday of one of the newest members to join the Tampa Bay Lightning family, goaltender Evgeni Nabokov.

The now 39 year old goaltender was picked up by Tampa Bay Lightning Vice President and General Manager Steve Yzerman to serve as a solid backup for Lightning goaltender Ben Bishop.

Over the years, the Lightning has been plagued by what has come to be referred to simply as “the goaltender situation.” Things definitely started to look up when the Lightning added Ben Bishop to the team. The Bolts hadn’t seen that type of consistency in many years.

Now, with the addition of Nabokov, the Lightning may actually have a solid chance this season of attaining stability.

Last season, the Kamenogorsk, Kazakhstan native suited up for 40 games with the New York Islanders. In those 40 games, Nabokov went 15-14-8 with a Goals Allowed Average of 2.74 and a Save Percentage of .905.

These numbers may not be quite as good as Bishop’s; however, once he has been given an opportunity to work alongside Bishop and get used to the Tampa Bay system, there is a very good possibility that his numbers could see a dramatic increase in the new season.

While he may not be a long term solution for the Tampa Bay Lightning as he is currently only under contract for the 2014-15 season, I am still pretty excited to see what he can bring to the ice when the season officially starts on October 9th.

No matter what the case may be, at this point and time he is a member of the Bolts Nation and with that being said, we here at Bolts By The Bay would like to wish Lightning goaltender Evgeni Nabokov a very Happy Birthday!

What are you most looking forward to in the 2014-15 season? What do you think Nabokov will bring to the ice when the puck drops on the new season? Let us know what you think in the comments below.


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