The waiting game between the Blue Jackets and Sergei Bobrovsky continues.
And, if a recent article from the Columbus Dispatch is accurate, it could continue some more.
The Dispatch reports there’s been zero traction gained between Bobrovsky and Jackets GM Jarmo Kekalainen on contract talks, adding there may not be much more gained by July 5.
From the Dispatch’s Michael Arace:
Negotiations between Jackets general manager Jarmo Kekalainen and Bobrovsky’s agent, Paul Theofanous, have not gained traction. There is good reason for this: Theofanous wants to wait, and it behooves him to do so.
Bobrovsky will be worth more if he wins the Vezina and/or receives an offer sheet from another team and/or receives an offer from SKA St. Petersburg — which might be offering something in the range of $10 million annually.
Bobrovsky is just 24 years old and coming out of his first contract, but he is set up to get a third-contract payday. All he has to do is sit tight past July 5 and the market will do the rest.
Arace also notes that Kekalainen is on record saying he’ll match any offer sheet made to his goalie.
Translation: If Bobrovsky plays in North America next year, it’ll be in Columbus.
The real question is how much the Blue Jackets are willing to spend. They’re currently $19 million under next year’s $64.3 million cap with 16 players signed, but do have a few decisions to make (most notably with RFA forward Artem Anisimov and veteran UFAs Vinny Prospal and Adrian Aucoin).
In terms of comparables, Bobrovsky could be looking a deal similar to what Jaroslav Halak got in St. Louis in 2010.
Then a 25-year-old RFA, Halak signed a four-year, $15 million deal with the Blues — and it’s worth noting Bobrovsky’s current situation is a lot like Halak’s, in that both would cash in on a season of excellence.
Halak got his deal on the heels of a stellar 2009-10 campaign, when he went 26-13-5 with a .924 save percentage and 2.40 GAA during the regular season, then starred in the postseason by carrying the underdog Canadiens all the way to the Eastern Conference finals.