Aug 25, 2013, 12:33 PM EDT
When people were projecting that the Columbus Blue Jackets would be terrible in 2013, Sergei Bobrovsky was the factor that was overlooked.
Bobrovsky had a solid rookie season with the Philadelphia Flyers in 2010-11, so even after his rough sophomore campaign, it certainly wasn’t unreasonable to assume that he was capable of being respectable in 2013. But winning the Vezina Trophy?
“Sergei had a great year,” Blue Jackets coach Todd Richards told NHL.com. “He was great himself, but what I think gets lost in the mix is how the guys played in front of him.”
Fair enough, he didn’t single-handily carry the Blue Jackets. Their defensive group is a major strength of this team and one we’ll look into as Blue Jackets day progresses. At the same time, Bobrovsky was the catalyst to their late season surge in 2013 that nearly vaulted them into the playoffs. With a 1.60 GAA and .946 save percentage in the final two months of the season, Bobrovsky posted a 18-5-3 record.
Had another goaltender been between the pipes during that stretch, the Blue Jackets might be pumping up their latest top-five draft pick rather than talking about building off last season’s success. Which begs the question: Can the 24-year-old goaltender do it again this season? Or does that two month stretch represent a hot streak that paid off big because the campaign was shortened?
They don’t need Bobrovsky to win another Vezina Trophy, but it’s fair to say they’ve put a considerable amount of faith in him. The Blue Jackets are projected to enter the season with Curtis McElhinney as their backup goaltender. McElhinney is coming off of a strong season in the minors, but he is 30 years old and has a career 3.10 GAA and .899 save percentage in 69 NHL games.
“He has that quality that [Rangers goaltender Henrik] Lundqvist has, that focus,” teammate Brandon Dubinsky said of Bobrovsky. “He has what it takes to be an elite goaltender; tack on his work ethic on top of that and the sky’s the limit for him.
“Start with a guy like that and you can build a team around it.”
They have done just that, but if Bobrovsky falters as Steve Mason did after his Calder Trophy-winning season, then 2013-14 will be another in a line of heartbreaking seasons for the Blue Jackets.
Apr 28, 2015, 3:48 PM EDT
Veteran Finn is a UFA on July 1.
Apr 28, 2015, 3:47 PM EDT
“I don’t want to tear it apart, but I’m not afraid to make changes if I think it’ll help the team.”
Apr 28, 2015, 2:28 PM EDT
Nothing like a little competition to get things done.
Apr 28, 2015, 2:16 PM EDT
Isles defenseman missed the entire opening-round series loss to Washington.
Apr 28, 2015, 1:54 PM EDT
Kicks off on Thursday with the Rangers taking on the Caps, and the Flames facing the Ducks.
Apr 28, 2015, 1:32 PM EDT
Jamie Benn’s having two of ’em!
Apr 28, 2015, 1:09 PM EDT
“I feel like I’ve let people down.”
Apr 28, 2015, 1:08 PM EDT
Was dismissed by the Flyers 11 days ago.
Apr 28, 2015, 12:25 PM EDT
“It wasn’t a perfect fit, to be honest.”
Apr 28, 2015, 12:21 PM EDT
Should be an interesting offseason in Pittsburgh.
Apr 28, 2015, 11:29 AM EDT
Though the former will be on the limp.
Apr 28, 2015, 10:33 AM EDT
Both expected to be ready for training camp.
Apr 28, 2015, 10:01 AM EDT
Occurred late in the second period on Monday night.
Apr 28, 2015, 9:15 AM EDT
Both are unrestricted free agents this summer.
Apr 28, 2015, 8:07 AM EDT
Tuesday’s collection of links.
Apr 28, 2015, 12:04 AM EDT
It’s also tough to say what happens next.
Apr 27, 2015, 11:16 PM EDT
Barry Trotz says he has the joy of a kid and the maturity of a man.
Apr 27, 2015, 10:33 PM EDT
Apr 27, 2015, 10:17 PM EDT
Washington shuts it down, big time.
Apr 27, 2015, 9:55 PM EDT
Some great individual performances propel Tampa Bay.
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- Wings’ Kronwall has hearing today for hit on Kucherov 39
- Kucherov isn’t going to ‘cry’ about Kronwall hit 38
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- Friedman: Penguins need to ‘think about’ trading Malkin (89)
- Okposo blasts ‘idiot’ Wilson after physical outing versus Isles (82)