Keep those number 35 jerseys stored away, because we in Flyerdom won’t be seeing 23-year old netminder Sergei Bobrovsky for a while. It appears as though Peter Laviolette has decided to let incumbent Ilya Bryzgalov keep the keys to the Flyers nets.
Since returning from the flu, Bryzgalov has started nine straight games. In his last nine starts, Bryzgalov has a 2.33 GAA and a .912 save percentage. Bryz also recorded his third shut out of the season in that span. Only once in the last nine games have we seen the man Flyers fans affectionately call “Bob.” Bobrovsky came into relief for Bryzgalov in the Pittsburgh Penguins 6-4 rout of the Flyers on February 18. That means Bob has not seen any actual playing time in just under three weeks.
Bobrovsky came to Philadelphia without much fanfare, but quickly became a fan favorite. After winning the starting goaltender job in his rookie season (2010-11) and beating the Pittsburgh Penguins to open the Consol Energy Arena, the fans flocked to Bob. Bobrovsky finished his rookie season playing career high 54 games, maintaining a record of 28-13-8 with an impressive 2.59 GAA and .915 save percentage. Bobrovsky also had an impressive run in late October-early November 2010 where he vowed to not lose a game and went on to win six straight, and nine of ten overall. But, it was Bobrovsky’s postseason performance where the Flyers may have lost their confidence in the young netminder.
On May 12, 2011, Flyers Owner/Chairman Ed Snider issued his statement that would lead to the downfall of Sergei Bobrovsky. Mr. Snider stated, “We are never going to go through the goalie issues we’ve gone through the last couple of years again.” The rest, as they say, is history. On June 7, the Flyers traded for the rights to Bryzgalov. On June 23, the Flyers signed Bryzgalov to a mammoth nine-year, 51-million dollar contract.
So what happens to Bobrovsky? Bob has one season left on his contract that will pay him 1.75 million before he hits restricted free agency. By all accounts, Bob is still highly regarded around the league as a capable starting goalie. After speaking with one source, Bobrovsky’s value has dipped, but not tremendously. He could still fetch as high as a second-round pick.
So, it is time to trade Sergei “the goalie of the future” Bobrovsky. Although a fan of Bobrovsky, and someone who has stumped for Bobrovsky to be given a shot, he has no future in Philadelphia with Bryzgalov signed to a long-term immovable contract. Add that to the fact that Bryzgalov appears to have found his confidence, it is time for the Flyers to strike while Bob’s value is still relatively high before there is nothing left. So, Bobrovsky, he of the 2.99 GAA and .900 save percentage in 24 games, like so many other “goalies of the future“ (Oh hey, Maxime Ouellet, Brian Boucher, and Robert Esche!), may be winding down his final season in Philadelphia.