A young goaltender coming off an incredibly dominant season may believe that he is ready for his shot at the National Hockey League and he may feel that his shot would be better suited with a different team than the one that currently owns his rights.
For some time now we have been hearing that 24 year old goaltender Ivan Nalimov has demanded a trade from the Chicago Blackhawks organization due to the fact that he is ready to make the move to the NHL and the Blackhawks currently are unwilling to accommodate that desire from the young netminder. Nalimov's desire to come to the NHL right now comes off the heels of a tremendous season in the Kontinental Hockey League and it seems fair to suggest that Nalimov and his agent know very well that this may be his best chance to cash in.
Nalimov, a former 6th round pick (179th overall) in the 2014 NHL Entry Draft far exceeded expectations last season, a season he split between Vladivostok Admiral and Ufa Salavat Yulayev of the KHL. With the Vladivostok Admiral Nalimov appeared in 17 games and recorded an outstanding 1.98 goals against average and a .942 save percentage over the course of those games. The remainder of the 2017 - 2018 KHL season was spent with Ufa Salavat Yulayev and Nalimov appeared in 6 games for them, recording a 2.59 goals against average and a .927 save percentage.
Now those are obviously incredible numbers and if he were able to translate that level of skill to the NHL level you can imagine that there would be an incredible level of demand for his services. That being said though it is a one season sample size and it seems unlikely that even the most desperate of teams would be prepared to give him an immediate shot in the NHL before getting any playing time in the American Hockey League. Even if they were willing to give him an immediate shot in the NHL they may now never get the chance.
A new report from Chicago Blackhawks insider Scott Powers of The Athletic has confirmed the fact that Nalimov and his agent did in fact demand a trade from the Blackhawks, but now it appears that Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman has been able to work some of his magic and convince Nalimov to spend one more year in the KHL before getting a shot in the National Hockey League.
"I talked to Stan Bowman and it was a good conversation," said Nalimov's agent, Shumi Babaev, as per The Athletic. "[Bowman] has a lot of goals for his season. He think he can play in the NHL. He’ll play one more season in the KHL and come to the NHL. It was a good conversation."
According to the agent it sounds like they liked what they heard from Bowman and have now agreed on a joint vision of the future.
"We’re on the same page. We fix everything. It’s clear an understand for us. I said our position to him and him to me. I understand his thinking of the future of the team. Ivan is a prospect, not a bad prospect, I think a good prospect. For us, the NHL is priority No. 1 in the future. We agreed."
This will of course now come down to whether or not the Blackhawks live up to their end of the deal. If Nalimov has another dominant season and the Blackhawks don't give him the spot he wants this trade demand could come back in a hurry.
Photo Credit: Keystone Press