Columbus Blue Jackets: Could Bobrovsky Become the Backup in Columbus?

WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 21: Columbus Blue Jackets goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky (72) takes the ice for the game against the Washington Capitals on April 21, 2018, at the Capital One Arena in Washington, D.C. in the First Round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. The Washington Capitals defeated the Columbus Blue Jackets, 4-3 in overtime.(Photo by Mark Goldman/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 21: Columbus Blue Jackets goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky (72) takes the ice for the game against the Washington Capitals on April 21, 2018, at the Capital One Arena in Washington, D.C. in the First Round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. The Washington Capitals defeated the Columbus Blue Jackets, 4-3 in overtime.(Photo by Mark Goldman/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images) /
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Does it sound too outrageous that the Columbus Blue Jackets could soon make their twice Vezina-winning goaltender a backup?  On the surface yes. When you breakdown the bigger picture, not as much.

What happens if the Columbus Blue Jackets decide to make Sergei Bobrovsky the backup goaltender in Ohio’s capital city? If you think that sounds outrageous, let’s dissect the possibility a bit more. It’s actually not a long shot by any stretch. Put on your open-minded thinking caps and consider the following.

Sergei Bobrovsky has a peculiar way about him. He’s freakishly nonchalant after games, whether he played great or poor. He responded similarly to multiple disastrous playoff performances. He tends only to express emotion with a quick hug smile post Jackets’ victories. He is magically stoic to say the least.

He’s a complicated guy in some ways, and one of those is reading into his responses. Unlike his typical self, Bob did flash a glimpse of moodiness when asked this summer about a potential contract extension. His chilly mood revealed something to us that we rarely witness. Bob’s not a robot after all. He’s a human being with real emotion.

Related Story. CBJ: Negotiations With Bobrovsky Stall Out. light

Not only is Bob human, but he’s a human who wants a long-term contract that pays at, or near the top of his position in the NHL. Think in the neighborhood of Carey Price. Here is where the rub lies.

As we all know, Bob is 30 now. His age alone isn’t stopping him from getting that next big contract though. We also have to factor in CBJ’s small platoon of potential net-minding talent in the system, future Jackets’ contracts and Sergei’s well-documented disastrous playoff play (going back to his Flyers days even).

What does it all mean? Back to the original point, it could soon mean that it makes much more sense to play Joonas Korpisalo as the first-line goaltender with Bob as the backup. If this still sounds ridiculous, let’s continue down the rabbit hole just a tad more.

I tend to think this is Bobrovsky’s last year in Columbus. It all makes too much sense. Of course Jarmo is going to speak differently because he has to. It’s best for the team, Bob’s ego and keeps potential negotiations on the table.

That being said, for all of the factors I stated above, I don’t think he’ll be back.

Related Story. CBJ: 4 Reasons Why Bob Won't Be Back Next Year. light

When you stop and think about the likelihood that he suits up elsewhere next season, playing Korpisalo as the one starts to make more sense. If the organization is already leaning to letting Bob walk and his play is sub par, why wouldn’t you see what you’ve got in Joonas?

The contrarian might ask, well what if Bob starts to play lights out? Then you start him and win as many games as you can. The bigger picture though, still points to a real possibility that Korpisalo could sooner than later be “the man” between the pipes for the Columbus Blue Jackets.

It might make more sense to write this analysis 15 or 20 games into the season, but I’m trying to think ahead of the curve the same way a GM or coach might. These aren’t coin flip or finger-snap decisions we’re talking about. This is the future direction of the franchise’s most pivotal position. In fact, I’d be shocked if this discussion didn’t already take place pre-season.

Columbus Blue Jackets
Columbus Blue Jackets /

Columbus Blue Jackets

There’s a reason after all why there’s already public discussion about Korpisalo getting more starts in 2018-2019. Here’s a hint – it’s not just because they think he’ll play better than Bob. He’s never been on Bob’s level, but could he get there? Not likely, but maybe.

This builds up to one last question.

Considering Bob’s pouty status when discussing contract talks, how might he handle playing second fiddle to his long-time backup? Since it’s completely impossible to project how he might play all we have to work with is what might be going through his mind.

The good news for Columbus Blue Jackets fans is that a man seeking a massive contract certainly doesn’t have the option of slacking off. No matter how hurt Bob’s feelings are or aren’t, all that matters in Columbus is that he gives 100% on the ice and plays to the best of his abilities.

Hockey is a game, but it’s also a business. Unfortunately for Sergei Bobrovsky, his feelings might fall victim to the quirky dynamics of his contract and how it could play into the team’s near and distant future.

Next. Beginning of Bobrovsky's Downfall. dark

Now that we’ve come full-circle, the thought of making Joonas the starter doesn’t sound so far-fetched does it? It’s definitely too soon to say, but if the first five games serve as an indicator of what’s to come, don’t be surprised if this article ages well.