The game of chicken continues.
The relationship between the Blue Jackets and Sergei Bobrovsky is damaged. It’s becoming clearer that both sides want to move on, however, they still need each other and neither one is willing to budge. To this point, at least.
It was reported early last week by Pierre LeBrun that Bobrovsky is and always has been willing to waive his no-movement clause. However, it’s been reported by Elliotte Friedman in 31 Thoughts this week that Bobrovsky doesn’t want to give the Blue Jackets a list of teams he would agree to go.
17. The mystery of Sergei Bobrovsky’s future continues in Columbus. The Blue Jackets are wisely playing this very close to the vest, and there’s an understanding he will consider other situations — but has he actually committed to them on paper? One of the theories was that he and agent Paul Theofanous verbally considered some possibilities, but didn’t want to give Columbus an actual written list. Once you agree to that, the team has more control.
Bobrovsky’s intentions are clear. He is not willing to commit to Columbus long-term. The teams intentions are still unclear; do they want to keep Bobrovsky and try to take a run, or do they try and trade him to recoup some assets? In a perfect world you have Bobrovsky playing at an all-star level and have confidence he could take you on a deep playoff run.
Even ignoring his prior playoff struggles, Bobrovsky has not played to the usual level we have been accustomed to seeing. His .904 save percentage is below the league average of .908 and well below the .921 he’s put up over his seven-year career in Columbus.
There was also the whole ordeal in Tampa that resulted in Bobrovsky being de facto "suspended" for the following game against Nashville. Since that Tampa game, Bobrovsky has only played twice whereas Joonas Korpisalo has played four times. Korpisalo has been great in those games, putting up a .935 save percentage and helping the team to some big wins over Nashville and Washington.
At this moment, neither side seems committed to each other. Even more so than Artemi Panarin, this will be the big storyline to follow as we inch closer and closer to the trade deadline.
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