Credit: Greg Bartram-USA TODAY Sports

Who Is Columbus Blue Jackets Franchise Goalie?

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Sergei Bobrovsky is the franchise goaltender of the Columbus Blue Jackets. After years of incompetency in net with Steve Mason, Bobrovsky took over the number one job, nearly pushing the basement dweller-Jackets to a playoff spot. Although coming up just a bit short on post season play, Bobrovsky’s extraordinary performances were good enough to earn him the Vezina trophy for best NHL goaltender.

Credit: Rob Leifheit-USA TODAY Sports

Last year was even better. Of course a season is nothing if not a series of peaks and vallys for a hockey team and its players,  but it’s safe to say that Sergei outdid himself. He may not have been as good technically (stats) and he may not have been in the Vezina running, but Bobrovsky did something that had only been done once in Columbus history: he took the Blue Jackets to the playoffs.

Once there, things got interesting. The Columbus-Pittsburgh series was scripted by the writers of the soap opera “As The World Turns.” (I assume that’s still a show? Should I just google it for fact checking? Sure. But it’s a soap opera, those things last forever. Plus, you get the point.)

In other words, the series was nothing but episode after episode of plot twists. Key characters went scoreless (see one Crosby, Sidney) while others showed no character development (see one Fleury, Marc-Andre). And then there was Sergei Bobrobsky. He played good on the games they lost and bad on the games they won.

And vise-versa. Or something like that.

On the game 2 win, Sergei let in 2 early goals and another late in the 1st. After that? Nothing. Bobrovsky went on to hold Pittsburgh scoreless in the 2nd period, 3rd period, first overtime, and about 30 or so seconds of the second overtime. On the game 4 win he gave up 3 goals in the first 11 minutes of the game before shutting the door for the remaining time, allowing his teammates to capture their first home playoff win ever.

Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

The Penguins outlasted the Blue Jackets, leading us to where we are now in the offseason. While we await for the puck to drop on the new 2014-2015 campaign, questions arise from the dust. Will Nathan Horton be healthy? Will Ryan Johansen sign? Will Brandon Dubinsky ever get that certain letter on his sweater, the one that isn’t “A?” And then there’s ones that aren’t as obvious, but need to be asked.

Questions like: Is Sergei Bobrovsky truly the goalie of the future?

This question may seem silly. There’s nothing behind the scenes that would suggest otherwise. And I’m not trying to create something out of nothing. I’m a gut-writer. I don’t claim to have sources, I write from feeling, from the gut. And I mean it when I say that something feels a little off in assuming Sergei Bobrovsky will be our net minder for years to come.

Why? I don’t know. I understand that you have to develop your players, even ones who play the same position as an all-star. Oscar Dansk isn’t competing with Bobrovsky anytime soon, but he is rising up throughout the ranks, making it to the AHL affiliate Springfield Falcons. Maybe not next year, or the year after that, but what about in 2, in 3? Will Oscar Dansk be the man guarding the net for Columbus in the playoffs instead of Sergei?

Of course only time will tell. Bobrovsky isn’t going anywhere in the near future. I’m not trying to claim he will be gone by trade deadline. Bobrovsky will man the net for the Columbus Blue Jackets, taking them deep in the playoffs. And this could, (and should…and will) happen for years to come.

But after that? Will Sergei Bobrovsky be a Columbus Blue Jacket goaltender for the remainder of his career? I can’t say definitively one way or the other. Something is off. I know he loves playing for Arch City but I just don’t get that sense that he will be the Columbus Blue Jacket goaltender that takes us into the next chapter of the organization. I don’t know if I see him passing the touch, or rather just a hot flame, the one being passed before he has a chance to burn out.
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