TORONTO (AP) The Columbus Blue Jackets signed goalie Sergei Bobrovsky to a four-year, $29.7 million contract extension through the 2018-19 season.
The 26-year-old Bobrovsky won the 2013 Vezina Trophy winner as the NHL's top goalie. He was acquired from Philadelphia for second- and third-round picks in the 2012 draft and a fourth-round pick in 2013.
''We believe he's only going to improve,'' Columbus general manager Jarmo Kekalainen said before the team's 5-2 loss at Toronto on Friday night. ''Obviously, it's ultimately it's up to the player to prove that he's worth the contract that he gets. That's the way we operate, we operate on giving them the futures and that's how we evaluate these players every day, but we believe with his hard work and dedication he's going to be one of the top goalies in this league for a long time.''
Bobrovsky made 27 saves in the loss, a few hours after signing the big extension.
''I'm really happy about that and I'm really happy to stay with the team and this organization,'' Bobrovsky said. ''They were great to me and it's great to be a Blue Jacket for four more years.''
Bobrovsky, who is 15-11-2 with a 2.80 goals against average and .915 save percentage and one shutout in 28 games this season, is seen as a cornerstone of the franchise.
''Bob is a great example of a guy that really puts in the work every day: how he prepares for practice, how he prepares for every game,'' Kekalainen said. ''He's a good example in the locker room and off the ice and on the ice the way he is as a professional. That's the type of leader we want on our team and that's why we've locked up all these core players.''