Bobrovsky traded to Blue Jackets for picks
PITTSBURGH – When Paul Holmgren sat down with Sergei Bobrovsky at season’s end, it was clear the 23-year-old goalie wasn’t happy.
“He wanted an opportunity to compete and be a No. 1 goalie,” the Flyers general manager recalled.
Bobrovsky, who never seemed comfortable in a backup role to Ilya Bryzgalov this past season after being a starter his rookie year, was traded to Columbus on Friday afternoon for three draft picks.
“It was tough for me,” Holmgren said. “You know how high I hold Bob in that regard. He was a tremendous kid. Maybe one of the hardest working players I have ever come across at any position.”
The Flyers secured the Blue Jackets’ second-round pick (45th), as well as the 117th pick in the fourt round. They also received a fourth-round pick in 2013.
“It was an opportunity to replenish picks,” Holmgren added.
Both the Columbus Dispatch and TSN’s Darren Dreger broke the trade. Blue Jackets general manager Scott Howson confirmed the trade almost immediately, while the Flyers tweeted it about 90 minutes later.
The Flyers had just five picks in this year’s draft at CONSOL Energy Center. They now have seven in seven rounds.
“This gives Sergei a chance to be in a better position himself,” Holmgren said. “Columbus was one of the teams that inquired about him a lot.”
The Blue Jackets owned two picks that round, including the 31st overall.
Bobrovsky appeared in 29 games last season with a 3.02 goals against average and .899 save percentage.
He had a tremendous rookie season in 2010-11 with 28 wins, a 2.59 GAA and .915 save percentage, but was not very good in the playoffs, forcing the Flyers’ hand last summer.
The club then signed Bryzgalov to a nine-year, $51 million contract to succeed Bobrovsky.
In fairness to Bobrovsky, he deserved to have the opportunity to start somewhere else. He’ll have to beat out Steve Mason for the No. 1 job.
There are a number of veteran goalies available in free agency who are comfortable backing up and would be a good fit, such as Scott Clemmensen or Marty Biron, to name just two.
Given how well-liked Biron was as a Flyer, he would be an obvious free-agent choice. Biron appeared in 21 games for the Rangers with a 2.46 GAA and .904 save percentage.
At the same time, it seems ridiculous the Rangers would allow Biron to leave where he worked well with starter Henrik Lundqvist.
Clemmensen had a 2.57 GAA and .913 save percentage in 30 games with the Florida Panthers.
Another possibility is Johan Hedberg, who played 27 games for New Jersey last season with 2.23 GAA and .918 save percentage.
Holmgren said veteran Michael Leighton could fill that role within the organization.
“We’ll do our work and come up with a good guy,” Holmgren said.
E-mail Tim Panaccio at firstname.lastname@example.org