SAN JOSE –- The Sharks added one final piece to their organizational coaching chart on Saturday, as Evgeni Nabokov was named their goaltending development coach/special assignment scout.
The Sharks all-time leader in just about every major goaltending category, Nabokov will work primarily with the prospects in the organization as well as scout potential draft picks in the amateur ranks. The Sharks’ AHL affiliate, the Barracuda, begin their first season in San Jose in October.
New Sharks coach Pete DeBoer clarified Nabokov’s role.
“Evgeni is underneath [goaltending/assistant coach] Johan Hedberg in the organization, working with the development of the goaltenders, specifically at the lower levels -– the American league, the guys that we’ve drafted and are in different spots,” DeBoer said. “It’s a great combination. I think Johan is one of the best I’ve worked with, and to be able to add Nabby to that group I think gives us a real strength in that area.”
[RELATED: Sharks outlook: All eyes on new goalie Jones]
Nabokov was spotted on the ice with the Sharks’ prospects at the team’s development camp in July on general manager Doug Wilson’s invitation. The two had discussions after that about an official job within the organization.
One of the most popular players in franchise history, Nabokov retired from the NHL as a Shark on Feb. 11, 2015 after 14 seasons. In his new role, he’ll try to learn as much as possible himself while passing along his knowledge to the team’s cadre of young netminders.
“I believe that you have to learn before you really go and spread your opinion,” Nabokov said. “I think that would be a good fit so that I can learn from the guys around me, how everything works.”
What’s the key to being a successful professional goalie?
“To me, the biggest thing is confidence. They have to be confident,” Nabovov said. “They all already accomplished something in their little careers. They’ll already have that first step. We just want to help them to keep developing and keep getting better. I think the number one thing is they have to be confident.”
Nabokov and Hedberg –- who joined DeBoer’s staff over the summer –- are familiar with one another, having worked with legendary goalie coach Warren Strelow while both were in the organization. Although his primary focus will be the youngsters, Nabokov will likely keep an eye on the Sharks’ goaltenders as well. Newcomer Martin Jones is still just 25, while backup Alex Stalock is 28.
The Sharks and Barracuda will share the same practice facility.
“I can go and watch the Sharks practice [or] the Barracuda, so everything is kind of here. That’s why I think this is a great fit,” he said.