It's very rare to hear a National Hockey League insider hint at these kind of very serious behind the scenes issues and it is even more rare when the player in question is arguably the biggest name in the franchise.
Sportsnet NHL insider Elliotte Friedman was a recent guest on the National Hockey League's NHL Network when he was asked about the rather peculiar situation currently going on in Columbus and he made some rather concerning comments. As fans will know by now there is tremendous uncertainty regarding the future of both star forward Artemi Panarin and star goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky, and although Friedman did not seem overly concerned with the Panarin situation, he hinted at the fact that the Bobrovsky situation was far more of a concern for the Blue Jackets moving forward.
“But there is concern about Bobrovsky,” said Friedman as per Nichols on Hockey. “He’s got the worst save percentage for anybody who has played his minutes in the league this year, and he’s got the second-worst goals-against average. And also he just looks unhappy.”
“Bill and Dave know more about team and culture than I do and I will always concede that, but I think when you’re on a roster and you’re like that, it can really have an effect on a team. I think Bobrovsky at some point, he needs to get back to the level that we all know he can play at, if for his own financial future.”
A player becoming a locker room cancer can be a major problem even at the best of times and this is anything but for both the Blue Jackets and for Bobrovsky himself. The veteran NHL goaltender has been nothing short of abysmal this season with an ugly looking 3.87 goals against average and a brutal .872 save percentage through his first 6 games of the regular season. The combination of his poor attitude as well as his poor play on the ice appear to be enough to force the Blue Jackets to seriously contemplate getting rid of him, and Friedman believes that Bobrovsky could even be willing to waive his trade protection in order to make that happen.
“But I think Columbus is looking at this and saying, ‘Do we have to consider the possibility that we have to move him for the sake of the room?’ I think that’s being discussed. And he has a no-move clause, but word around is that he has at least told Columbus that there are some teams he will consider moving to. I don’t know if that means an extension or just a rental, but I think Columbus has some idea of where Bobrovsky would be potentially willing to go if they could make a deal.”
It sounds like things are getting very ugly indeed between the star goaltender and his current team.