The Florida Panthers desperately need a starting netminder, but would acquiring Sergei Bobrovsky from the Blue Jackets make sense?
Everyone knows that the Florida Panthers are in desperate need of help in between the pipes. Roberto Luongo is just months away from turning 40 and is declining as we speak. James Reimer, on the other hand, has shown no signs of consistency, playing to the tune of a teeter-totter.
One goaltender who the Panthers have kicked tires on and have shown interest with has been 30-year-old Sergei Bobrovsky. But would acquiring his services make sense at this time?
The Russian netminder currently plays with the Columbus Blue Jackets and is experiencing a highly inconsistent year in terms of production. His SV% has dipped from .921 in 2017-18 to .906 this year.
His GAA (Goals Against Average) has shot up to 2.87, which is quite the increase from his 2.42 figure in 2017-18. On top of that, he is also sitting out of tonight’s game against Nashville for disciplinary reasons.
Obviously, the Panthers could use any help in between the cage as they struggle to find options. But considering that Bobrovsky is a UFA at the end of the year, acquiring him may be tricky and problematic.
First, if the Cats were interested in obtaining his services via trade, they would have to find out what the asking price would be on Columbus’ end. I can tell you straight up, the Jackets aren’t going to give him up to anyone for anything.
You can surely bet that they’re going to ask for a productive, top-six forward, a decent, top-four defenseman, as well as a decent draft pick which could land anywhere from second to fourth round.
And, in a deal where a goalie is involved, you can expect that a goaltender on your end will have to go the other way (for balancing purposes). But what if you don’t have a goaltender who interests your trading partner?
I mean, who would want a soon-to-be 40-year-old who has three years left of term on his deal after this season? Also, who would want an overpaid backup who’s shown no signs of consistency?
For the price that the Jackets are likely going to demand and taking into account that Bobrovsky is headed for the open market this summer, trading for his services just doesn’t make sense – at least at this current moment.
Sure, the Panthers could probably acquire Bobrovsky based on the assets and picks they currently own, but would it make sense parting ways with valuable assets for a goaltender who may not even re-sign?
Unless a contract extension is guaranteed in a potential trade, I’d look to swoop up Bobrovsky in the summer through a contract. Yes, it may be costly and it would include term, but I’d rather part ways with dollars than I would with assets on something that isn’t guaranteed to return after this year.
And, even if the Panthers did manage to strike a deal with Columbus, would Bobrovsky even make the Cats that much better? It’s not like the Panthers are in a position to make a playoff run and are likely headed for another year at the draft lottery.
Bobrovsky may bring this team close to a playoff spot, but in no way, shape, or form is he good enough to carry this group (at this rate) to the playoffs on his own.
Essentially, the Panthers would finish just below the final wild-card spot, which would mean that they wouldn’t only miss out on the postseason, but they would also land a mediocre draft pick. The worst possible scenario you could be in: mediocrity.
For the reasons I stated above which includes a steep asking price and the unsurety of Bobrovsky re-signing, it would remain best if the Panthers would avoid the trade route and possibly circle back on the Bobrovsky sweepstakes later in the summer.