As I was trying to suggest when the NHL draft hype meter hit “TILT”, the draft wasn’t the biggest issue facing the Columbus Blue Jackets this offseason…or even last week, for that matter. And while I’m pleased that they garnered a gaggle of promising young players, that warm feeling doesn’t compare to the joy in my Dark Blue Heart over the team’s signing of goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky to a two-year contract for this season and next.
At $11.25 million over the life of the contract, Bob will be bringing in top-tier goalie money…but, interestingly, he’s still young enough that the end of this contract will see him back as a restricted free agent with the CBJ. So look at it as an extended tryout deal: Bob played lights out hockey for two-thirds of a 48-game season and won the Vezina Trophy (for best goaltender in the NHL) for his efforts. But two-thirds of 48 means he is pulling in big, big money for about 30-35 games of demonstrated skill. It’s not enough for the team to sign him long-term, but it’s long enough for the team to see if 2013 was a fluke or not while not crippling the franchise in perpetuity like Rick DiPietro did to the New York Islanders.
Anyway, getting Bob back was huge for the team. You could pretty much stop the offseason right now and I’d call it a success on Bob’s signing alone.