With just hours to go until the 2012 NHL draft gets underway in Pittsburgh, the Philadelphia Flyers announced they had sent 23-year-old netminder Sergei Bobrovsky to the Columbus Blue Jackets. There had been much talk leading up to the draft that the Novokuznetsk native would be moved by GM Paul Holmgren and as luck would have it, the Flyers exchanged him for 3 draft picks on starting goalie Ilya Bryzgalov’s birthday.
While it’s likely just a coincidence and not the 33-year-old’s birthday wish, the man Philly fans affectionately dubbed “Bob” will take his skill-set to a team which had struggled with stability in the crease. Last year, Columbus ranked 27th in goals allowed and against average allowing goalies Steve Mason and Curtis Sanford to get pummeled with pucks as they finished in last place. The pain didn’t end there as they lost out to Edmonton for the first overall pick in tonight’s draft settling instead for second.
Now with Sanford’s contract expired, Bobrovsky will compete with Mason for the starting gig as he had little chance overtaking Bryz in Philly after he was handed his big money nine-year deal. Columbus sent Philly their No. 45 and No. 117 picks in this year’s draft along with a fourth rounder next year.
Bobrovsky will now get the opportunity for playing time in the NHL having impressed Flyers brass two years ago by simply walking onto the team without any time spent in the AHL. Perhaps a change of scenery will be good for his career as he will look to hit free agency after one year in Columbus.