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Why isnt Sergei Bobrovsky a Flyer anymore?

It's been a season of mumbling and grumblings for Flyers fans. Much of it unfairly has to do with goaltending, as hockey fans and writers watch the Blue Jackets streak for the playoffs, and the Flyers flounder. They saw now Jackets goalie Sergei Bobrovsky get traded for picks, and Ilya Bryzgalov retain the starting job in net. Through the complaints and questions, it's easy to figure out why this happened.

Sergei Bobrovsky burst onto the scene to start the 2010-11 season following the Flyers Stanley Cup Final loss to Chicago. Signed just months earlier, Bobs track record was widely unknown to North American hockey fans. He came from one of the more inferior KHL teams, but posted elite level save percentages each season, proving that he was a very good goalie, just stuck on a poor team. He played great throughout his rookie season, posting a great 28-13-8 record with a .915 save percentage. But fast forward to round 1 of the playoffs and you'll see things begin to unravel.

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It became noticeable to fans and media members throughout Bobrovskys rookie season that the young Russian puts a lot of pressure on himself. That became more evident after Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Playoffs against the Buffalo Sabres, a game that the Flyers lost 1-0. Bobrovsky was admittedly nervous prior to the playoffs, and despite a great game by him, broke down mentally after the loss. He came out in Game 2 and allowed 3 goals on 7 shots, and was pulled in favor of Brian Boucher, who did not relinquish the starting role. Bobrovsky did not dress the remainder of the playoffs, and practiced with the Phantoms call-ups.

The Flyers have been down this road before, signing a European goalie who quickly won the starting job, was very impressive in the regular season, only to go into a tailspin in the playoffs. His name was Roman Cechmanek, and though his teams performance may not have helped him in the playoffs, his fragile mental state didn't make things easier.

The Flyers barely snuck past the Buffalo Sabres that season, and we're swept in the next round by the future Cup winning Boston Bruins. Following the season, the Summer of Zeus with Zeus portrayed by Paul Holmgren began. Lightning bolts flew and struck Kris Versteeg, Dan Carcillo, Mike Richards, Jeff Carter, and Brian Boucher, among others. Prior to Carter and Richards being dealt within an hour of one another, the Flyers traded for the rights to Ilya Bryzgalov, the Russian goalie who had been a perennial Vezina candidate for the Phoenix Coyotes. The Flyers had had enough of the question marks in net, and made a splash.

One of the supposed reasons Carter and Richards we're dealt was to open up cap space to sign Bryzgalov to his outlandish contract, spanning 9 seasons and costing the Flyers approximately $51 million, and most importantlya No Movement Clause. This immediately made Bobrovsky the backup goaltender. The two Russians carries an awkward relationship through the season, supposedly getting along at times, and other times giving off a cold camaraderie. One thing was certain though, as poorly as Bryz played, Bob could not win back the starting job and the Flyers couldn't dump Bryz anywhere. The Flyers we're insistent with their new massive investment, and it began to pay off late in the season, as Bryz posted immaculate stats in March, and was serviceable in the playoffs.

The Flyers wanted better for Bobrovsky, they knew he could start in the league, but also knew that no one would overthrow Bryz from his throne in the crease, thanks to that contract. After Anders Lindback was dealt in the offseason from Nashville to Tampa Bay, the market for backup goalies with starting potential was set. The Flyers traded Bobrovsky to the Columbus Blue Jackets for a 2nd round draft pick and two 4th round picks.

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Posted in Entertainment Post Date 09/28/2015


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