It was a known fact that Columbus Blue Jackets general manager Jarmo Kekalainen rolled the dice with some serious free agent possibilities in order to drive his team into the playoffs in 2018-2019 and now the inevitable is happening, first with the signing of Artemi Panarin with the New York Rangers and now with the signing of goalie Sergei Bobrovsky to the Florida Panthers.
Dale Tallon announced Monday that the netminder has signed a seven-year contract with his hockey club.
“Sergei is an elite starting goaltender who has consistently proven to be one of the best in the NHL,” said Tallon. “Adding a world class goalie with Sergei’s abilities and experience will give us a solid foundation in net and the confidence to win every night as we look towards this next era of Panthers hockey in South Florida.”
The news comes on the heels of Roberto Luongo’s retirement and instantly makes the Panthers a better and more formidable team, shutting down any questions about long-term netminding viability in an instant.
According to reports, Bobrovsky’s contract is worth $70 million. That means Bobrovsky is second only to Carey Price in terms of highest-paid goalies in the National Hockey League.
The 30-year-old posted a 37-24-1 record in 62 games in 2018-2019, with a 2.58 goals against average and a .913 save percentage. In the playoffs, Bobrovsky managed six wins with a .925 save percentage.
The two-time Vezina Trophy winner has posted 37 wins in each of his last two seasons and, like Panarin, was undrafted into the NHL. He was signed as a free agent by the Philadelphia Flyers in May of 2010.
Also like Panarin, Bobrovsky just couldn’t get it done with the Blue Jackets this past season. He was almost always assured an exit from Ohio and now he’s got a fresh start with the Panthers, who’re looking to move into a new era all their own.
In 457 career NHL games, Bobrovsky has a 255-153-37 record with a .919 save percentage and a 2.46 goals against average. He has 33 career shutouts.
(Lead photo credit: NHL)