Ilya Nabokov could bring the Nabby name back to the San Jose Sharks crease

Metallurg Hockey Club player, Ilya Nabokov (30) seen in...
Metallurg Hockey Club player, Ilya Nabokov (30) seen in... / SOPA Images/GettyImages

It's been a long time since the San Jose Sharks could say they had a strong Nabokov in the pipes for the organization, but that could be the case in the future if the organization wants. Projected to go early in the second round is a goaltender named Ilya Nabokov, who is of no relation to the Sharks legend and is the current director of goaltending, Evgeni Nabokov. While Nabby is a franchise icon, Ilya Nabokov could be the future of the crease.

San Jose's future netminding options are thin right now. Eetu Makiniemi looks like a great goaltender when he is healthy enough to play, but injuries have destroyed him. Magnus Chrona has potential, but he needs help to get consistent game time at either level. His ceiling is still debated, but he is probably not the long-term solution in goal. This leads us to the Metallurg Magnitogorsk netminder, which is Ilya Nabokov.

Most talents I've discussed that the Sharks should consider are 18-year-olds desperate to make their dreams of North American hockey come true. Nabokov is much older, at 21 years old. He's far more developed than many of his peers, which could be seen as both an advantage and a disadvantage. While he is older, there's less time for him to continue to grow. However, his arrival time in the NHL could be lower than that of others.

With Metallurg Magnitogorsk, Nabokov recorded a 23-13-3 record with a 2.15 goals against average and a .930 save percentage. In the playoffs, he seemed to get even better. He went 16-6 with a 1.82 goals against average and a .942 save percentage as he backstopped Metallurg Magnitogorsk to the Gagarin Cup championship. He was sensational in the playoffs, earning the MVP as he backstopped the team to their third Gagarin Cup title.

Having a netminder with the name Nabokov in the organization is something the Sharks have needed for a long time. Ilya might be better than Evgeni, but that is a risk. Listed as the number 2 EU goalie coming into the draft by NHL central scouting, there is no certainty about what lies ahead. Perhaps he could become the future of the Sharks crease. Maybe he is just a flash in the pan. Is he worth the risk?