The Florida Panthers still trust him. Come on, it’s been just one season, one year of this seven-year, $70 million contract (average annual value $10 million). You know who we’re talking about.
But the stats remain: Sergei Bobrovsky, who played his first season with the Panthers had the highest goals-against average of his 10-season NHL career (3.23) and the second-lowest save percentage (.900) for Florida (35-26-8, .565 points percentage), which finished 10th in the Eastern Conference. Bobrovsky had a 3.07 GAA and .901 save percentage in a four-game loss to the New York Islanders in the best-of-5 Stanley Cup Qualifiers.
That’s no good. So much so that TSN’s Frank Seravelli wonders two things. First, he believes the Panthers could be tempted to look around and see if another team would be willing to take on Bobrovsky’s contract:
“With both of the Blue Jackets’ netminders, Devan Dubnyk, Martin Jones and even Sergei Bobrovsky hitting the board, it might be easier to list the goaltenders who are not moving this fall. It’s not long: Carey Price, Connor Hellebuyck, Andrei Vasilevskiy, John Gibson, Carter Hart, Jordan Binnington, Ilya Sorokin, Igor Shesterkin, and Ilya Samsonov.”
However, he adds what could be the truest thing of them all: “Speaking of Bobrovsky, is that the NHL’s most unmovable contract?”
He might just be. We all remember when then-Vancouver Canucks goalie Roberto Luongo blames his contract before he was eventually traded to the Panthers.
Now, it’s Florida who has the NHL’s most unmovable contract.
For now, the Panthers might have to focus on the fact that new general manager Bill Zito is familiar with the Russian goalie and could get him back on track. Zito worked in the Columbus Blue Jackets front office for seven seasons, most recently as senior vice president of hockey operations and associate GM. Bobrovsky played for the Blue Jackets from 2012-19 and had a 2.41 GAA and .921 save percentage in 374 games for them (213-130-27).
The new GM already has a lot to deal with seeing that he’s got 13 players under contract for next season, including captain Aleksander Barkov , forward Jonathan Huberdeau and defenseman Aaron Ekblad and he already knows rival teams will approach the Panthers to make trades.
But he shouldn’t worry too much about Bobrovsky and what is now known as the NHL’s most unmovable contract.