Sergei Bobrovsky just became part of an elite group of NHL goaltenders on Saturday night. But now the Vezina Trophy winner’s contract is up, and he is slated to be an RFA come July 5th. Sources have linked Bobrovsky’s name with SKA Saint Petersburg of the KHL, supposedly they are quite interested in signing the young goaltender. What is stopping him from making the move to the KHL? He has already proved that he could be the best goaltender in the NHL.
Bobrovsky is a native of Russia, and signing with a Russian team wouldn’t be out of the ordinary for Russian players. Most players who have gone on to the KHL either played most of their career in the NHL or couldn’t make it as a regular on an NHL roster. Bobrovsky is neither of those. He has proved himself as a high caliber goalie who could take on any one on any night. So why not go play in your homeland in front of thousands of Russian fans?
There is one major thing Bobrvosky has left to prove in the NHL; can he take a team deep into the playoffs and hoist the Stanley Cup? He came close this year to pushing his team into the playoffs, where they would have been the dark horse in the west. We can always go back to the Kings though, first 8th seed to ever win the Stanley cup, so anything is possible. So Bobrovsky does have something to prove in the NHL, whether he elects to stay and pursue his career with the Blue Jackets is his call.
One would think that playing in the NHL over the KHL is a no brainier, but it could be hard to walk away from being able to play in front of your home countries fans. Bobrovsky, his agent, and the Columbus Blue Jackets have a lot to talk about before July 5th. The next season, and possibly the fate of the next couple seasons, may rest on this one contract.