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Associated Press
7/11/2006 1:00:25 PM

Vesa Toskala has nothing but great things to say about the San Jose Sharks, his GM Doug Wilson, and his fellow goaltender Evgeni Nabokov.

But he's adamant he doesn't want to head into training camp next season still battling for playing time in goal with his buddy Nabokov.

''I really hope that doesn't happen,'' Toskala said Tuesday from his native Tampere, Finland. ''That's not good for me, or for Nabby. And I don't think it's good for the team either, sitting one of us on the bench. I really hope there's a trade.''

Wilson has patiently fielded calls for both goalies since the season ended but hasn't found anything that made sense. He understands neither player will be thrilled if a trade doesn't happen this summer.

''We've got a problem that many teams would love to have,'' Wilson said Tuesday from San Jose. ''We have two No. 1 goaltenders and we feel very confident in both of them.

''But we will make the decision that's right for this organization.''

The Sharks can afford to make a move since they're deep in goal throughout the organization. AHL starter Nolan Schaefer, of Yellow Grass, Sask., went 5-1-0 with a 1.88 goals-against average and .920 save percentage during a callup to San Jose last season while Nabokov and Toskala were both out with injuries.

There was talk coming out of the NHL entry draft in Vancouver last month that the Sharks and Ottawa Senators were exchanging phone calls with Toskala the man going north.

''Yes, I saw those rumours, there were a lot of rumours flying around but that's all they were I guess,'' said Toskala.

Once the Senators signed Martin Gerber on July 1 all bets were off with San Jose.

Meanwhile, Nabokov's new $21.5-million, four-year contract kicked in July 1, a deal that includes a no-trade clause. But that doesn't mean he can't be moved.

Nabokov, with three 30-win seasons under his belt, doesn't want to be a backup any more than Toskala so one has to assume he would waive his no-trade clause if Wilson found him a new address that's acceptable.

On the surface, there aren't many jobs left for a starting goalie in the NHL. But the reality is that many teams would be willing to upgrade what they currently have in goal in order to add a Nabokov or a Toskala. So there's no telling where either Sharks goalie will end up.

In the new salary-cap world, there's no question Toskala is a great bargain, signed for only $1.375 a year for next season and 2007-08. Nabokov, who turns 31 on July 25, is a bigger ticket at $5.375 million a season, but is a more established goalie than Toskala, who emerged last season when Nabokov battled groin problems.

A healthy Nabokov backstopped the Sharks to the Western Conference final in 2003-04, and played 55 or more games from 2000-01 to 2003-04 before being limited to 45 games last season. He's 137-113-29 in 303 career regular-season games with a 2.45 GAA and .911 save percentage.

Toskala, 29, started the year as the backup again in 2005-06 but took off after the Olympic break, ending the season with a 23-7-0 record, 2.56 GAA and .901 save percentage. He also started all 11 playoff games, going 6-5 with a 2.45 GAA and .910 save percentage.

Relaxing at home in Tampere, Toskala is just waiting for the call that tells him either he's gone or Nabokov is.

''I really don't know what's going to happen,'' said Toskala. ''I'm enjoying my summer right now, I don't really let it get to me. Obviously I want to know where I'm playing next season but I haven't been stressing out about it.''
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