The Columbus Blue Jackets goaltender is currently projected to be an unrestricted free agent after this season.
A non-contending team won’t trade for a goaltender who can leave as a free agent at the end of the season, and nearly every team that will realistically be in playoff contention has at least a competent starting goalie.
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Even for teams who don’t have a starting goaltender who can lead them convincingly into the playoffs, a majority of the teams who fit into that category are in the Metropolitan division. As a result, it would be counterproductive for Jarmo Kekalainen to trade the Russian netminder to one of those teams.
With Elvis Merzlikins probably making the jump to North America after the NLA season ends in roughly three months, there will be some competition in the goaltending department. However with the time that it will take Merzlikins to make the adjustment to the North American game and with Joonas Korpisalo‘s underwhelming performances to date, it is hard to justify trading an elite goalie in the midst of a playoff run.
Letting Bobrovsky walk in the offseason would be painful to watch, however it would be a justifiable situation where the Blue Jackets essentially use him as a rental themselves rather than shipping him to another team for that role.
Trading Bobrovsky would be ideal, however there would be basically an abysmal return to a team who doesn’t really need him. As a result, this type of deal would hurt both the player and the team. While the idea of trading Bobrovsky is appealing, the realistic possibilities of it simply make no sense for either side.