The Columbus Blue Jackets rightfully join the Eastern Conference next season, and even though they will be playing in the division whose name proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that Gary Bettman is Satan’s unclaimed child who hates hockey more than he hates Heaven itself, who knows? A nice little rivalry could spring up between these two teams, especially if one of these squads winds up being enough of a thorn in the side to keep the other out of playoff contention. Either way, it’s time to turn my focus on just the second goalie to make my Wish List series so far.
Am I going to go on the record as saying that I would feel more comfortable with Sergei Bobrovsky, the goalie who the Philadelphia Flyers traded instead of Ilya “I’m flying!” Bryzgalov*, manning the pipes for the Buffalo Sabres than I would Jhonas Enroth?
Yes. Yes I am.
*Granted, Bobrovsky was headed into the final year of his contract, while Bryzgalov still had 50 years left on his – true! Still – the Flyers didn’t think Bryz would need a competent back-up? Come on.
Look: it’s not just the fact that Bob won the Vezina Trophy last year.
Ha ha ha ha! Of course it’s due to the fact that he won the Vezina last year! What else would I be interested in – his snappy bow tie collection?
Or is that a cravat???
Regardless of how the man adorns his neck, Bobrovsky is 24 and already owns a Vezina. He put up great numbers with a Blue Jackets team that fell just the length of a bow tie short of making the playoffs last season, and he was a huge reason reason why Columbus went from being the 3rd worst team in terms of goals against in 2011-2012 to the 10th best team in that same category in 2012-2013. Bobrovsky played in 38 games last season, faced over 1,000 shots, and STILL had a GAA of 2.00 and posted a save percentage of .932, second best among all starting goalies. (Ottawa’s Craig Anderson led the league with a .941 save percentage – but he only played in 24 games, and faced only 677 shots.)
Gosh – that’s purty. His numbers, I mean, not the photograph.
Meanwhile, the Buffalo Sabres are rolling out 33 year-old Ryan Miller to start the season (2.81, .915 last season), with Enroth waiting in the wings (2.60, .919). No offense to Miller, because I love what he has done, but let’s be honest: it looks like his best years are behind him. Bobrovsky, on the other hand, is still honing his game, which is a scary thought for someone who was just voted the best goalie in the NHL. I don’t think he’s going to be as scary-good as Dominik Hasek, who collected six Vezina trophies during his illustrious career, but Bob certainly has the potential to bring home more hardware.
Could last season have been a fluke? Sure, why not? I know his numbers in Philadelphia were not outstanding – but that was Philadelphia, currently the team with no idea what to do with an NHL goalie. For a team that produced Bernie Parent and Ron Hextall, among others, the Flyers sure have lost their way when it comes to netminders. I think getting out of Philadelphia was the best thing for Bobrovsky, and I expect him to spend a lot of years ranked among the top ten goalies in the NHL. That’s why, out of all the players on the Columbus Blue Jackets roster, I would choose Sergei Bobrovsky to play for the Buffalo Sabres.
Agree? Disagree? Suggestions? Fashion tips? Leave your comments below, or hit me up @theamazingMrS!