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No Vezina repeat, but Bobrovsky remains Jackets’ MVP

Aug 26, 2014, 6:11 PM EDT

Columbus Blue Jackets' goalie Sergei Bobrovsky, of Russia, is silhouetted as he stands in front of his net before an NHL hockey game against the Vancouver Canucks in Vancouver, British Columbia, Friday, Nov. 22, 2013. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Darryl Dyck) AP

The Columbus Blue Jackets are in the middle of important talks with restricted free agent Ryan Johansen, but an even bigger contract negotiation is looming.

Sergei Bobrovsky entered the 2013-14 campaign as the reigning Vezina Trophy winner and while he didn’t repeat, he nevertheless solidified his status as a great goaltender. Bobrovsky got off to a slow start with a 2.81 GAA and .906 save percentage through November, but he posted a 2.12 GAA and .933 save percentage for the remainder of the season to lead Columbus to the playoffs.

The campaign overall was still a step back from his showing in the lockout shortened 2013 season, but after years of unreliable work from netminder Steve Mason, the Blue Jackets can finally count their goaltending as a strength and that has been at the center of their recent rise. Given that Bobrovsky is only 25 years old (26 on Sept. 20), he is in a position to be the long-term solution in Columbus.

Whether or not that happens will depend on more than just his performance in 2014-15 though. After he won the Vezina Trophy, Columbus signed him to a two-year, $11.25 million bridge contract. That means he’s set to be a restricted free agent again in the summer of 2015 and this time around both sides will likely be very interested in agreeing to a long-term deal.

It will clearly need to be a lucrative contract and the numbers will only increase if Bobrovsky continues to excel. That’s a problem the Blue Jackets would be happy to have as without Bobrovsky playing at or near the top of his game, this team’s outlook is a lot grimmer.

  1. mcphillthy - Aug 26, 2014 at 8:18 PM

    Paul Holmgren gave this guy away to keep bryzgalov.
    I like mason but it still stings.
    I am still a huge bobs fan! I cheer for him when he’s not playing Philly.
    Congrats, Columbus! You have a really good goalie in your net.

    • goodolejr - Aug 27, 2014 at 9:11 AM

      Correction: Ed Snider forced Paul Holmgren to give this guy away to keep Bryz. Had Laviolette not terribly mishandle the goalie situation in the 2011 playoffs, Snider would have never pushed for Bryz to happen and Bob would likely still be here.

      That said, if Mason keeps his play up for the next few years and we can improve our D with some of the young guys, I won’t miss Bob. Still love him, but it’s easier to let it go when the team’s winning.

  2. justanotherphillyfan - Aug 26, 2014 at 10:11 PM

    We didn’t ‘gave’ him away… Everybody even Holmgren knew he traded away a great goalie with potential. But the truth can be faced. Bob would never have become the goalie he is right now in Philadelphia. Our goalie-coach * very hard and has never made any goalie better. All he can do is say how much he likes our goalies.

    Bob changed his style when he went to CBJ, he became taller/bigger in front of his goal so that all the rebounds didn’t bounce to unlucky (open) positions which made him do some explosive attempts to save that ended up with him being way out of position at every goal he gave up in Philly.

    Everybody could see the potential, thats why we all like him so much but give the people in Columbus credit to get that potential out of this guy because in Philly they could never have done that.
    Beside that this article says he has a bridge contract which isn’t true. There is a different between a bridge contract and a long term deal. A bridge contract is given to a player who hasn’t shown himself to earn the big numbers ( Schenn current contract and PK Subban’s former contract ) those a bridge contracts what Bob has is just fair contract but only a shorter term because CBJ doesn’t like to stack players up with longer term contracts. Thats just a way they do business. Nothing to do with Bob, he got enough money only for 2 years and maybe now he signs for longer.

    Great guy.. Bob.

    • thefranchise777 - Aug 26, 2014 at 10:33 PM

      Bridge contracts are intentional mid-term contracts meant to expire while the player is still under RFA status, for younger players who don’t have a long track record of success to merit a long term deal yet.

      Bob absolutely is the poster child for a perfect bridge deal; he had one great season, but had not shown enough yet to merit signing a 5-8 year deal. He has played out the first half of the bridge, and assuming he plays equal or better next year, has earned a large dollar long term deal.

      Johanson is also a perfect scenario for a bridge, having one year of strong numbers after average to below average numbers prior.

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