Nalimov, who will turn 25 years old in August, was drafted by the Blackhawks in the sixth round in 2014. The 6-foot-4, 209-pounder has played the last five seasons in the KHL with just as many teams (Admiral Vladivostok, Sibir Novosibirsk, Salavat Yulaev Ufa, Kunlun Red Star and Avangard) while Chicago holds onto his rights.
Nalimov struggled to find consistency last season and was the backup for Avangard, who was swept by CSKA Moscow and Max Shalunov in the Gagarin Cup Finals. Nalimov recorded a .917 save percentage in only 18 games.
Avangard gave Nalimov a qualifying offer after this past season, but decided to trade him to SKA St. Petersburg, who already has four goaltenders on its roster for the upcoming season with Pavel Davydyuk, Magnus Hellberg, Pyotr Kochetkov (Hurricanes’ 2019 second rounder) and Alexi Melnichuk.
Nailmov asked the Blackhawks to trade his NHL rights prior to last season, but later retracted the request. A source told Scott Powers of The Athletic in June that Nalimov wants to sign with the Blackhawks for next season, but the interest does not appear to be mutual.
The Blackhawks signed Vezina finalist and Jennings Trophy winner goaltender Robin Lehner to a one-year, $5 million contract July 1 to give the team a dynamic 1-2 punch with Corey Crawford and Lehner. The Blackhawks’ AHL affiliate, the Rockford IceHogs, are also set up with a strong duo in net with Collin Delia and Kevin Lankinen. Delia signed a three-year contract extension in February after his NHL stint while Crawford was out with another concussion. Lankinen has one year left on his contract after splitting time between the AHL and ECHL last season.