Since his debut in the NHL in 1997-98, centre Dimitri Nabokov demonstrated flashes of skill but was unable to keep his game at a high level for an extended period of time. He was a part-time big leaguer and put up decent numbers in the minors before returning to Russia.
Born in Novosibirsk, USSR, Nabokov developed under the guidance of the powerful Soviet Wings club. He ascended to a prominent role with the team in 1994-95 and caught the eye of several NHL scout. The skilled pivot was chosen in the first round, 19th overall by the Chicago Black Hawks at the 1995 NHL Entry Draft. Nabokov enjoyed a solid year for the Wings in 1995-96 and was a member of the Russian team that finished fourth at that year's World Championships.
Nabokov came to North America in 1996-97 and was sent by Chicago the develop in the WHL with the Regina Pats. The gifted youngster adapted well to the rigours of Canadian junior hockey by scoring 95 points in 50 games. He spent 25 games with the Hawks in 1997-98 and impressed at times although he was not ready for the NHL. Nabokov struggled briefly with the Indianapolis Ice of the CHL but soon regained his confidence.
On June 1, 1998 he was traded to the New York Islanders for fellow prospect Jean-Pierre Dumont. Nabokov played solidly for the Lowell Lock Monsters of the AHL in 1998-99 then suited up for 26 games for the Islanders the next season. In 2000-01 he returned to Russia to compete for Lada Togliatti.