With Sergei Bobrovsky out 4-5 weeks with a groin strain, the Columbus Blue Jackets will rely on both Curtis McElhinney and Mike McKenna in goal. McElhinney has been with the NHL club since day one of the season and was designated as Bobrovsky’s backup during the offseason, as for McKenna, he has been playing for the Springfield Falcons, CBJ’s AHL affiliate. Now here is a more in-depth look into McElhinney, taking a quick look at his career, and his season with the Blue Jackets so far this year.
Quick Facts – McElhinney
- 30 years old, Drafted in 2002 by the Calgary Flames
- The Blue Jackets are his 5th NHL team
- 77 NHL games played
- Overall record – 20 wins, 29 losses, 5 OT losses, and 2 shutouts
- Overall save percentage – .902
- Overall goals against average – 3.01
As you can see, his career has been that of a journeyman backup goaltender, never exactly finding his groove for one team and winning over the starting netminder position. The most NHL games he has played in a single season is 28 – he split time between Anaheim and Ottawa during the 2010-2011 season.
With 8 games played in so far this season for Columbus, McElhinney now has the opportunity to be the number 1 netminder while Bobrovsky is out, and he could eclipse his single season career high.
2013-2014 Season – McElhinney
- 8 NHL games played in
- Record – 1 win, 3 losses, 1 OT loss
- Save percentage – .925
- Goals against average – 2.34
- Opponents faced – VAN, PIT (2), OTT, MTL, EDM, BOS, TBL
McElhinney has played far less games than Bobrovsky this season, so it isn’t a fair comparison, but he does have a better save percentage and goals against average. Bobrovsky is currently sporting 23 games played in, .909 save percentage, 2.72 goals against average.
The Next 4-5 Weeks
- 15 possible games (12/06 – 01/06)
- 1 pair of back-to-back games (12/09 vs PIT – 12-10 vs NJD)
- Toughest opponents – PIT (2), STL (2), AVS, PHX, and MIN
- Eastern Conference opponents – PIT, NJD (2), NYR (2), PHI (2), and CAR
This will be a true test for the Blue Jackets, but that is not to say that both Curtis McElhinney and Mike McKenna aren’t capable goalies – both have proven they can win. We should all take a page out of Jarmo Kekalainen‘s book and have some confidence in the two netminders…
It’s going to be more than a regular schedule for Curtis, but he’s ready for it. If you look around the league, this has happened to Jonathan Quick and Pekka Rinne, and it’s worked out for those teams and I’m confident it will work out for us, too.
Tags: Columbus Blue Jackets