Skip to content

Columbus playoff chances rest with Bobrovsky

Aug 25, 2013, 12:33 PM EST

COLUMBUS, OH -MARCH 16: Sergei Bobrovsky #72 of the Columbus Blue Jackets celebrates with his teammates after making 39 saves as Columbus shut out the Phoenix Coyotes 1-0 in a shootout on March 16, 2013 at Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio.
(March 15, 2013 - Source: Kirk Irwin/Getty Images North America) Getty Images

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.

Latest Posts
  1. Price shuts out Leafs to match Canadiens record

    Feb 28, 2015, 10:41 PM EST

    Carey Price AP

    He’s continuing to make his case for the art Trophy.

  2. Video: Hard-fought Flyers lead neutralized in just 24 seconds

    Feb 28, 2015, 9:24 PM EST

    New York Rangers v Philadelphia Flyers Getty Images

    Stakes are high for Philadelphia after Boston and Florida won.

  3. Jagr earns high praise in his Panthers debut

    Feb 28, 2015, 8:50 PM EST

    Jaromir Jagr AP

    His leadership and the confidence that he brings might provide Florida with a big boost.

  4. Bruins maintain four-point edge in playoff race, hand Coyotes ninth straight loss

    Feb 28, 2015, 8:24 PM EST

    Zdeno Chara, Milan Lucic AP

    Arizona is threatening to drop to 29th in the NHL, which would be big as far as the draft lottery is concerned.

  5. WATCH LIVE: Rangers at Flyers (8:00 p.m. ET)

    Feb 28, 2015, 7:51 PM EST

    Wayne Simmonds, Ryan McDonagh AP

    Philadelphia is trying to salvage its bid for a playoff spot.

  6. Sabres’ Chris Stewart is eager to play postseason hockey

    Feb 28, 2015, 7:37 PM EST

    Chris Stewart Getty Images

    A recent report suggests that Boston is interested.

  7. Red Wings beat NHL-leading Preds to end successful Western road trip

    Feb 28, 2015, 6:02 PM EST

    Alexei Marchenko, Justin Abdelkader AP

    Alexey Marchenko scored his first career goal.

  8. Five on waivers as trade deadline looms

    Feb 28, 2015, 5:34 PM EST

    Rob Zepp Getty Images

    That gives some teams extra roster flexibility.

  9. Agent: Blackhawks have ‘no intention’ of trading Sharp

    Feb 28, 2015, 4:15 PM EST

    Patrick Sharp Patrick Sharp

    He’s been the subject of trade rumors lately.

  10. Goalie Nods: Mason returns for the Flyers

    Feb 28, 2015, 3:35 PM EST

    Steve Mason AP

    News and notes from around the blue paint…

  11. Trade: Ducks acquire Fleischmann from the Panthers for Heatley and a pick

    Feb 28, 2015, 2:07 PM EST

    TomasFleischmann Getty Images

    The former Caps’ forward reunited with Bruce Boudreau.

  12. Trade: Capitals acquire Gleason from the Canes for Hillen and a pick

    Feb 28, 2015, 12:27 PM EST

    TimGleason Getty Images

    Both are unrestricted free agents after this season.

  13. Report: Rangers are shopping Zuccarello

    Feb 28, 2015, 12:00 PM EST

    Mats Zuccarello Getty Images

    He’s an unrestricted free agent after this season.

  14. Clarkson set to debut on Jackets’ top line

    Feb 28, 2015, 11:15 AM EST

    Toronto Maple Leafs v New York Islanders Getty Images

    Was acquired Thursday from Toronto.

Featured video

Trade deadline storylines to watch
Top 10 NHL Player Searches
  1. B. Wheeler (2665)
  2. T. Hall (2419)
  3. K. Okposo (2380)
  4. M. Giordano (2228)
  5. D. Krejci (2176)