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.