The Florida Panthers have a really costly goaltending downside
Sergei Bobrovsky signed an enormous free agent take care of the Cats final summer season and adopted it up by getting crushed within the common season. Can he discover his kind towards the Islanders? His exhibition begin towards Tampa Bay did not assist issues.Brayden Level scores on Sergei Bobrovsky|Mark Blinch/NHLI by way of USA TODAY SportsIn phrases of omens, the Florida Panthers couldn’t do a lot worse that the 5-Zero drubbing they suffered by the hands of the rival Tampa Bay Lightning on Wednesday. The Panthers are one of many fortunate franchises to be included within the NHL’s prolonged 24-team post-season area, however they positive regarded like a workforce that might have missed the playoffs beneath regular circumstances towards Tampa. There was one silver lining, nonetheless: the sport didn’t depend for something within the standings.
“5 targets, it’s loads,” mentioned goalie Sergei Bobrovsky. “The nice factor is, it was an exhibition recreation. We notice now we have to raise to a different degree – possibly two ranges.”
And Bobrovsky himself will probably be a key ingredient. He was signed to an enormous free agent deal final summer season and the contract is already trying like an albatross for a franchise that didn’t have a lot of a historical past in the case of splashing round money earlier than.
Bobrovsky actually struggled through the common season, with one of many worst targets saved above common (GSAA) numbers within the NHL (-14.9). His .900 save share and three.23 goals-against common confirmed his woes and that’s dangerous information for the Panthers, since he’s consuming up an enormous chunk of cap area. To paraphrase Roberto Luongo, his contract sucks.
Bobrovsky, a two-time Vezina winner, nonetheless has six extra years on a deal that comes with a cap hit of $10 million, made all the more serious by the actual fact the Covid-19 pandemic is forcing the wage cap to flatten for the foreseeable future.
True, he was fairly good within the playoffs final 12 months with Columbus, however the Blue Jackets are one of the structured groups within the league and experience taking part in mistake-free hockey. That’s not the case in Florida, the place a lot of the expertise resides up entrance in offensive roles. However Panthers coach Joel Quenneville is sticking by Bobrovsky proper now as Florida seems to be forward to a qualifying spherical sequence towards a sturdy New York Islanders workforce.
“We simply need him to be constant and cozy within the internet; transferring and discovering pucks and being Bob,” Quenneville mentioned. “I believed he obtained higher because the (Tampa) recreation went on and regarded larger within the internet.”
Quenneville additionally famous that he appreciated Bobrovsky’s coaching camp and appreciated the netminder’s battle degree.
“We all know the significance of goaltending and we’re going to depend on him,” he mentioned. “We’re anticipating him to do his factor.”
Not that the Panthers have a lot of a alternative. Whereas Quenneville turned to the less-experienced Chris Driedger to bail the workforce out through the common season, it might be loads to anticipate the 26-year-old profession minor-leaguer to leap in and rescue the Cats in a five-game sequence towards an skilled Isles squad, ought to Bobrovsky falter early on.
Which begs the query: if Bobrovsky is washed, what do the Panthers do with him? The contract is simply too massive to hold if he’s not your starter anymore, however what different franchise would take him? Do you attempt to sweet-talk Seattle into absorbing his deal?
The Kraken don’t begin taking part in till 2021-22, so by that point the enlargement squad would “solely” be on the hook for 5 extra years and possibly by then we begin to see the wage cap creeping again up – however Seattle GM Ron Francis can be asking for fairly a bit in return, I must think about. It’s a must to assume the worth can be a first-rounder or two and Florida retaining a few of Bobrovsky’s wage. However that’s assuming Francis desires to tackle a horrid contract proper off the bat (unlikely) and it additionally assumes Florida GM Dale Tallon is keen to half with such property simply to repair the books.
The Panthers do have a goalie of the longer term in Boston Faculty’s Spencer Knight and as soon as he turns professional, Florida could have the low-cost good thing about Knight’s entry-level contract to assist the cap scenario – which might steadiness out Bob’s stipend a little bit.
Or possibly Bobrovsky bounces again and provides the Islanders hell on this sequence. That, in fact, is essentially the most ideally suited state of affairs and one I’m positive Florida brass is collectively crossing their fingers over. At least, the exhibition loss to Tampa Bay was a shot throughout the bow.
“We’re going to maneuver ahead off that,” Quenneville mentioned. “We obtained a lesson and hopefully we will apply it at simply the precise time.”
Tags: ny islanders, florida panthersConnect: In regards to the AuthorRyan KennedyRyan Kennedy is the affiliate senior author and draft/prospect knowledgeable at The Hockey Information. He has been with the publication since 2005 and in that span, Don Cherry, Lil Jon and The Rock have all known as his home. He lives in Toronto along with his spouse and children the place he listens to loud music and collects NCAA pennants.