Afterweeks of the Columbus Blue Jackets talks with goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky being stuck in the mud, the two sides might have finally gained some traction.
Bobrovsky is scheduled to become a restricted free agent this summer, and while the Blue Jackets plan to match any potential offer sheet, another NHL team might not be their biggest competition for his services.
SKA St. Petersburg of the KHL is reportedly offering Bobrovsky something in the ballpark of $10 million annually and the 24-year-old netminder has confirmed that he’s negotiating with both Columbus and St. Petersburg.
That gives Blue Jackets GM Jarmo Kekalainen added incentive to move quickly and in the interest of doing so, he’s willing to concede one point to Bobrovsky’s agent.
“I said, ‘Let’s just proceed as if he’s already won (the Vezina Trophy)’,” Kekalainen told The Dispatch. “Let’s take that out of the equation. Let’s assume he’s won it, and move forward from there.”
Bobrovsky is a very strong contender for the award after posting a 2.00 GAA and .932 save percentage in 38 games. The winner will be revealed on Saturday.
He also played a huge role in pushing the Columbus Blue Jackets into the playoff race, even if they ultimately fell short.
It’s not surprising that Kekalainen would like to get this matter settled as soon as possible, but the two sides haven’t come to terms yet.
“His representation is doing what they feel is best; I don’t blame them,” Kekalainen said. “We’re doing what we think is best. I’m not discouraged at all. This is part of the process that both sides have to go through to get a deal done.”
One potential sticking point might be the length of the deal. Bobrovsky has three years of restricted free agent eligibility left, so the Blue Jackets are believed to be pushing for either a two or four-year contract.
The Buzzer: Celebrating genius of McDavid, Bergeron, Karlsson
There were great choices for player of the night, but ultimately, Bergeron’s return to the Bruins lineup stands tallest. He scored a goal and three assists, soothing injury-bummed Bruins fans as part of Boston’s victory against Vancouver.
Bergeron didn’t ease right in. He won half of his draws, fired six shots on goal, and almost logged 21 minutes of ice time. Maybe he can hold things together for Boston?
Update: The Edmonton Oilers ended up needing every bit of Connor McDavid‘s brilliance, as goals weren’t coming easily against the Chicago Blackhawks on Thursday night.
(Even though, as you can see with that highlight-reel assist, McDavid often makes it look easy.)
McDavid also managed a secondary assist on Mark Letestu‘s overtime-winner, ending the Edmonton Oilers’ losing streak at four games. The Blackhawks continue to be resourceful in getting standings points, in this case falling 2-1 in OT.
Anton Forsberg made 40 of 42 saves, but it wasn’t enough against a driven group led by number 97.
If you haven’t seen the more amazing of McDavid’s two helpers, do yourself a favor and check it out. You won’t regret it.
Connor McDavid’s speed and skill are glorious, but the thing that makes him extra-sensational is just how unstoppable he seems. Even against some of the NHL’s best.
To start the season, McDavid made very-solid Calgary Flames defenseman T.J. Brodie look downright permeable during the most impressive goal in his opening-night hat trick.
If that wasn’t impressive enough, the superstar tore through the Chicago Blackhawks – including certain future Hall of Famer Duncan Keith – and then sent absolutely obscene pass to Patrick Maroon for an easy goal.
You know how people used to say that a fire hydrant could score 50 goals with Mario Lemieux? We might need to bump that down to 30 for modern hockey, but either way, Maroon might laugh uncomfortably at such jokes.
If you prefer your jaw-droppers in GIF form, drop away:
The roller coaster isn’t slowing down for the Boston Bruins.
With Tuukka Rask‘s concussion looming over the proceedings, the Bruins gave fans some reason to celebrate; Patrice Bergeron scored a goal and three assists in an impressive 6-3 output by the B’s top guns against the overmatched Vancouver Canucks.
Even Anders Bjork enjoyed some measure of redemption after bowling over Rask in practice, as the young player scored two goals and an assist despite being limited to 12:29 TOI.
Other big guns like Brad Marchand did their increasingly reliable damage, with David Pastrnak probably providing the most exhilarating goal of the contest:
Yeah, that might get some attention from Canucks coach Travis Green in film sessions, assuming he doesn’t just burn the tape.
Bergeron broke down his night to Sportsnet’s Dan Murphy after the game:
The Bruins really made Erik Gudbranson and the Canucks pay for boarding Frank Vatrano, as they scored three power-play goals on the major penalty. Vatrano’s another health situation to watch, although it’s heartening that he returned during the game.
So … solid stuff overall, as the Bruins provided ample evidence that they might have the weapons to scrap through all this bad luck.
Then again, if opponents can slow the top-end guys, you wonder what kind of supporting cast the Bruins will have left through this run of attrition. David Krejci is the latest name to land on Boston’s troubling list of walking wounded.
Update: David Krejci will not return with an upper-body injury.