The masked man who occupies the goal crease for the Columbus Blue Jackets is having a career year. Sergei Bobrovsky has returned to elite form, reminding us all of the Vezina Trophy-winning campaign in the 2012-13 season.
Bobrovsky burst on the scene in Columbus as the Blue Jackets’ new netminder for the lockout season of 2012-13. In that shortened season, Bobrovsky played in 38 games, finishing with a 21-11-6 record, 2.00 goals-against average, a .932 save percentage and four shutouts.
The next start for Bobrovsky will be the 38th this year, matching his games played total of the 2012-13 season. So let’s compare the numbers.
Back and Better Than Ever
The majority of Bobrovsky’s statistics are almost identical when comparing these two incredible seasons of his. This year, he is 28-7-2 with a 1.98 GAA, the same.932 SV %, and three shutouts.
Bobrovsky gave up 74 goals while making a total of 1,010 saves in 2012-13 compared to the 71 goals against and 979 save totals through 37 games this year.
According to the numbers, Bob is currently having a better year than the 2012-13 campaign which would make this the best statistical season of his seven-year career.
The return of Vezina Bob was first spotted in Toronto when he put on a show between the pipes in four starts with Team Russia at the World Cup of Hockey in September.
Bobrovsky usually plays well as Russia’s goaltender in all-world events. But his performance in the World Cup proved to be a strong prequel to what we would see from him in the NHL regular season.
Vezina Trophy Picture
Bobrovsky’s stellar goaltending could certainly win him some hardware after the season is over. With a sub-2.00 goals against average and league-leading amount of wins (28), Sergei has an excellent case for having his name etched into the Vezina Trophy again this summer.
However, he has some competition.
Devan Dubnyk of the Minnesota Wild is also having a career year. He has the lowest goals-against average (1.91) and the highest save percentage (.935) among goalies with 30 or more starts this year.
Braden Holtby of the Washington Capitals isn’t having quite as good of a season as last year in which he won the Vezina Trophy but he’s still in the mix for a chance to retake the trophy. He is 22-8-4 with a 1.99 GAA, .929 Sv %, and league-leading six shutouts.
All three goalies are having tremendous seasons and their numbers solidify that. As it stands now, these three goalies are the front-runners for the Vezina Trophy. However, based on what we’ve seen so far this year, I think it’s probably a two-man race between Bobrovsky and Dubnyk.
Hart Trophy Discussion
With the types of seasons these two are having, it wouldn’t be that foolish to consider both in the talks for the Hart Trophy. Both goalies are undoubtedly the most valuable players for their respective teams as neither team would be in the positions they are in without them.
Typically, the Hart Trophy is handed out to forwards who tally a lot of points. Patrick Kane, who led the league in points last season, took home the Hart. But in 2015, goaltender Carey Price won the award.
“So you’re saying there’s a chance?”
Yes, I am. But the chances are not exactly great. Sidney Crosby, who’s won the award twice, leads the league in goals and is playing arguably the best hockey of his career. Meanwhile, Connor McDavid leads the league in points (56) in his sophomore season and is without question the sole reason the Oilers are in the playoff hunt this year.
Either Crosby or McDavid will likely win the Hart but don’t count out the goaltenders in Columbus and Minnesota.