In the second edition of our "Get to know..." series, I'll take a look at the new guy in the cage, Sergei Bobrovsky. The situation in goal for the Jackets has been an unequivocal mess since Steve Mason turned heads as a rookie, oh so many moons ago.
While Mason is still on the roster, he now has some serious competition for the starting job. Past acquisitions Mathieu Garon, Curtis Sanford and Mark Dekanich were all brought on board to be Mason's backup, with two of the three filling in for Mason far more often than was expected. The other guy? Well he never even played a game.
With Bobrovsky on the team, Mason will have to fight for starts right from the get-go, something he has yet to endure as an NHL goaltender. "Bob" is coming off a tough season himself, but we all know that tending goal in Philadelphia is a difficult task for the best of 'em. His rookie year of 2010/2011 was superb, where he was the go-to starter for the Flyers and put up solid numbers. Last year he was buried under the basket case that is Ilya Bryzgalov, and his numbers dropped. He's shown that he has the talent to be a number one, and his presence on the team can work two-fold: either to take the bull by the horns and lead the team as the starter, or he is enough of a threat to Mason's playing time that the incumbent goalie plays to his Calder-winning form and leads the team to success.
Win-win, I say. Let's find out a little more about Bob.
Birthplace: Novokuznetsk, Russia
2011-12 Stats: 29 GP / 14-10-2 Record / 3.02 GAA / 0.899 SV% / 0 SO
Previous team: Philadelphia Flyers
Who Columbus Gave up: 2012 2nd Round Pick, two 2012 4th Round Picks. The second rounder and one of the fourth rounders were acquired in the Antoine Vermette deal, whiile the other fourth was one of the picks that Columbus received from Vancouver for Samuel Pahlsson.
Contract: Bob is going in to the final year of his entry-level deal, where he will have a cap hit of $1.75 million per season. After this year, he will become an RFA. A contract extension can be negotiated at any point this year.
Strengths: Very strong work ethic, athletic.
Weaknesses: Makes bad decisions at times, very raw.
Where he fits: He has the potential to be the number one goaltender in Columbus. Training camp will decide if he or Mason will be the go-to puck stopper.