Sergei Bobrovsky has won two Vezina’s with the Columbus Blue Jackets and has always started slow.
The Columbus Blue Jackets have played less than 10% of their season so far but panic has set and the faithful are sharpening their pitchforks. Torches have already been assembled and the Fifth Lines’ rage is ready to be unleashed.
No one is getting more negative attention then the two-time Vezina Trophy winner Sergei Bobrovsky. Fans feel that Bob is doomed to failure this season. His contract negotiations have spoiled the net-minder and losing long time goalie coach Ian Clark is just the icing on this rotten cake that is leading to Bob’s poor performance through his first six starts.
Yes, Sergei has played below his very high standard through six starts. His 2-4-0 record with a 3.87 goals against average and a .872 save percentage are not ideal numbers. But this isn’t unprecedented territory for Bob. He historically has started the season of slowly even in his best seasons.
Let’s look back at the starts to his two Vezina years. The lockout shortened 2012-2013 season and the 2016-2017 campaign.
Columbus Blue Jackets
Sergei and the Blue Jackets didn’t exactly come running out of the gate this season. After the lockout ended and play resumed toward the end of January in 2013, Bob got off to a horrible. start.
In his first 12 games in net, Sergei was 3-6-3 including a 2-2-2 start in his first six starts. That’s only two points less than he has so far in 2018. He allowed 16 goals and his save percentage was below league average, sitting at .906.
Bob would go on from a terrible 3-6-3 start, to finish the year with an impressive 21-11-6 record with a .932 save percentage.
The 2016-2017 season started off even worse from a record perspective. In the first six games Bob was in net, the Jackets went 2-3-1. Just a single point over what the Jackets have accumulated up to this point in the 2018 campaign.
But no one was going nuts at this point because the expectations on the CBJ squad that year weren’t anywhere near as high as they are for this season. Bob had a good save percentage to start that season but still didn’t deliver the wins that he would go on to later that season.
In the 16-17 season, Sergei Bobrovsky would go on to have a 41-17-5 record with an astounding 2.06 goals against average after his poor start.
This year Bob’s save percentage is a putrid .872 through six games. There is a clear outlier in this series though that didn’t exist in either of his previous Vezina years and that was the Tampa Bay game.
Anyone that watched that game knows that the Lightning just utterly dominated ever aspect of that game and no goalie in the world was stopping them that night. If you take that performance out of the equation, Bob has a .899 save percentage to start the year. Not Vezina level, but in line with Bob’s historically slow starts to the year. Also, that save percentage is only .003 higher than Joonas Korpisalo’s who the entire fanbase wants to throw in net in place of Bob.
I’m not saying he is still going to win the Vezina this year or that there is absolutely nothing to worry about with Bob. There clearly are some issues that need to be taken care of. His save percentage may not be at .932 levels but I wouldn’t be surprised to see Bob continue to get more conformable in net and pitch a shutout soon. Not to mention the return of Seth Jones who will greatly help the defense moving forward.
What I am saying is that it isn’t unprecedented for Bob to start out slow. In fact, he has a reputation of getting out of the blocks slowly. There are still a ton of games left to be played and I still have my money on Bob figuring it out and being a top ten goalie in the NHL yet again by season’s end.