Philadelphia Flyers Sergei Bobrovksy could start in goal next season for the Columbus Blue Jackets now that the team has reportedly acquired the 23-year-old goalie in exchange for three draft picks, according to tweets from TSN's Darren Deger and Aaron Portzline of the Columbus Dispatch.
General manager Scott Howson told The Dispatch in April that fans should expect off-season changes that would impact current goalie Steve Mason:
“We need a different look in goal,” Howson said. “We need better play from that position. I told Steve in our exit interviews (earlier this month) that we’re going to have a different look at that position next year, but that right now, nobody can predict what form that’s going to take.”
Mason is due $3.2 million next season and if Bobrovsky does replace him, the team could either trade him or buy him out in the final year of his contract and make him an unrestricted free agent. Mason was pulled from play more than any other goalie in the past three seasons -- 20 times in 153 starts -- but his poor performance could be attributed in part to playing with 23 different defensemen over the last three seasons. His save percentage of .894 was the lowest of his career, ranking 42nd out of 44 goalies in the NHL.
Bobrovksy, meanwhile, became the youngest goalie in Flyers history to win a season-opening game in the 2010-11 season, accomplishing it at 22 years and 17 days, besting former goalie Ron Hextal. His rookie save percentage was .915 but he was eventually benched in favor of Brian Boucher because of poor performance in the playoffs.