Sergei Bobrovsky had a pretty good season last year, 32-20-5 with 5 shutouts, a .923 SV% and a 2.38 GAA. On the surface that was a good season, stats wise it was middle of the road, by comparison to his 2012-2013 season it was a step back. If the Columbus Blue Jackets want to take the next step, their franchise goaltender is going to have to get back to his Vezina Trophy winning form.
In 2012-2013 Bobrovsky went 21-11-6 with 4 shutouts, a .932 SV% and a 2.00 GAA. He was the Blue Jackets Superman in that season, and was really the main reason they had a chance at the end of the year to make the playoffs. The offense was not as good as the one he had in front of him last season, most nights he had to stand on his head and keep the other team to 1 goal or less. In 38 games during the 2012-2013 season Bobrovsky allowed 74 goals and in 58 games last season he allowed 131 goals. 57 goals more than the year before in only 20 more games, which coincides to a 2.85 GAA in those extra games, which is very un-BOB-like.
Bobrovsky was tied for 8th in the league in SV%, 17th in GAA, tied for 10th in wins and 11th in saves. Bobrovsky’s playoffs stats took an even bigger slide, he had a .908 SV% with a 3.17 GAA, which is one of reasons that the Blue Jackets failed to move past the first round. Yes the Blue Jackets were facing one of the best offense’s in the NHL, but the best player in the world was held to no goals and his sidekick was held to 3, and those came in one game. There were a couple of saves that I am sure Bobrovsky wishes he had back, a couple of those could have made a difference between making it to a Game 7, or even winning that series.
The Blue Jackets offense is going to have another year under its belt, it should be improved again as most of the Top 9 will be the same. If the offense can take another step forward along with Bobrovsky taking another step towards being BOB once again, watch out. The teams that make runs in the postseason have one of two things, or if they are lucky enough have both, a high scoring offense or a brick wall for a goaltender. This team needs Bobrovsky to be a stud, it will be the driving force for this team and its fan-base.
Do not get me wrong Sergei Bobrovsky was one of the reasons the Columbus Blue Jackets made the playoffs, but if the Blue Jackets are going to take that next step Bobrovsky is going to have to be the star of this team. He could be an integral cog on what this team has been building towards the last 2 seasons, and be the catalyst to this team becoming elite.