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NHL Columbus Blue Jackets

Will Sergei Bobrovsky Return to the Columbus Blue Jackets Next Season?

Jerome Miron – USA TODAY Sports

Columbus Blue Jackets goalie Sergei Bobrovsky is set to become a restricted free agent this coming off-season in July.  However, contract talks have been slow and have not yet resulted in a deal since discussions between the two parties began close to two months ago.

The Philadelphia Flyers traded Bobrovsky to the Blue Jackets in June 2012 with an entry-level contract.

The Blue Jackets will want to make sure to lock up Bobrovsky before the trade deadline as he was instrumental in keeping them in playoff contention this season, but the team ultimately fell short at ninth play in the Western Conference standings.  His play this season earned him a Vezina Trophy nomination, a favorite to win, recording career highs of 2.00 goals-against average (GAA) and a .932 save percentage, which ranks him second in the league, with 21 wins out of the 38 games he played this season.

The Columbus organization will try to avoid Bobrovsky going into free agency, but would likely match any offers he would receive from other suitors if it got to that point.  Blue Jackets general manager, Jarmo Kekalainen, is confident it will not get to that point according to the Columbus Dispatch.  The Blue Jackets will extend a qualifying offer to Bobrovsky in order to maintain his rights; however, it is believed that he will reject the offer and what happens after that remains to be seen.

Stephanie Lewark is an NHL and Pittsburgh Penguins Senior Writer for RantSports.com. Follow her on Twitter (@steelcitysports), check out her Facebook page, or add her to your Google+ circle.