Tampa Bay Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman dealt Nabokov back to the Sharks on Monday, paving the way for the 39-year-old to hang up his skates where he played the bulk of his career.
The Lightning received future considerations in the deal.
Nabokov holds nearly every franchise goaltending record for San Jose, including games played (563), wins (154) and shutouts (50).
“The players, my teammates, I think without them, I would not achieve anything because it’s a team sport and if I would not have such great teammates, I would not be even close to where I am right now,” Nabokov said.
“I want to thank you guys who are right now here and I want to thank the New York guys and the Tampa guys who were also really good to me.”
Nabokov, whom Tampa Bay waived recently, was signed by the club before this season, in part to mentor prospect Andrei Vasilevskiy, who later supplanted the NHL veteran as Ben Bishop's backup.
Nabokov had a 3-6-2 record and 3.15 goals-against average with the Lightning this season but only appeared in two games since Christmas.
"He'd seen and done everything," Tampa head coach Jon Cooper told reporters last week. "He's seen things I haven't seen yet. He was helping not only our players, he helped me in areas.
"He opened your eyes in things. You look at things differently because of his perspective. Ultimately, it's a little bit of a results-based league."
The Russian puckstopper played 14 NHL seasons with San Jose, Tampa and the New York Islanders, posting a 15-14-8 record, 2.74 goals-against average and .905 save percentage with the Islanders last season.