The National Hockey League has embarked on a trend of paying out big money deals to veteran goaltenders in recent years, notably those given to goaltenders Carey Price of the Montreal Canadiens and Sergei Bobrovsky of the Florida Panthers, and thus far I think you would be hard pressed to argue that those deals have paid off.
In the case of the Florida Panthers things have looked particularly bad after the very first season of that contract with Bobrovsky, no spring chicken at 31 years of age, struggling quite a bit. The veteran netminder took on a heavy workload for the Panthers to be sure, making 50 appearances over the shortened season, however he recorded a 3.23 goals against average and a .900 save percentage over that stretch of play. Those are simply not the kind of numbers you expect out of your starting goaltender in the NHL, especially not when you have made him one of the highest earners in the entire league.
It seems as though the Panthers themselves are well aware of the fact that they will need a better Bobrovsky to show up for the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs, and even head coach Joel Quenneville hinted as much during a recent interview. Quenneville was asked about how he felt his Panthers would fair in the playoffs and he admitted that they were going to need some big time goaltending out of Bobrovsky to be competitive.
"Well you don't win in the playoffs unless your goaltender is strong and consistent and can win some games for you and keeps you in a lot of games. I think Bob has done that in the past but I think this regular season so far has been a stretch where he had some solid games, some tough games, but we know what he is capable of. We love the way he approaches the game, the way he focuses, the commitment he has in doing everything he can to be the best he can be."
In spite of his struggles of his star in the regular season Quenneville believes this is an opportunity for redemption.
"It's a great opportunity for him to be great in the playoffs."
Good won't be good enough in the playoffs however, Quenneville ended his thoughts by publicly challenged his goaltender to return to his former glory.
"We're going to need him to be great."