Things probably could not have gone any better for Sergei Bobrovsky than they did in 2013. After his trade to the Columbus Blue Jackets, the Russian netminder took over the starting job, won a Vezina Trophy, went to the final two in the NHL 14 cover vote, and earned a lucrative new two-year contract.
The Blue Jackets remained in the playoff race, much to the surprise of virtually everyone on the planet, until the final day of the regular season. There was no larger reason for that than Bobrovsky, who put up some astounding numbers and was lights out down the stretch for this team.
His numbers were obviously worth of the Vezina Trophy win. He posted a 2.00 goals against average for the year, along with a .932 save percentage and four shutouts. He won 21 of his 37 starts on the season, including winning eight of his last nine starts, when the Jackets needed every win they could get.
As impressive as it was in 2013, is Bobrovsky setting everyone up for disappointment heading into the new season? After a season like that, it’ll be extremely tough to replicate. Does that mean that a regression could be in the cards for Bobrovsky heading into the 2013-14 season?
It’s a tough call. If this were the case of a veteran who suddenly broke out an had a fantastic year, a la Mike Smith in Phoenix, then it’d be easy to point at him and say that he would regress heading into the new season. But prior to this year, we hadn’t seen a ton of action from Bobrovsky, as he was a career backup.
While a regression can’t be determined until the season, it goes without saying that the 2013-14 season will tell us a lot about Sergei Bobrovsky. If he comes out playing at the same level at which he spent most of 2013, then it’s clear we have an elite goaltender on our hands. We’ll see how it all plays out for a Blue Jackets team that looks primed to make a playoff run this year.