Michael DeNicola

 

Yes, Sergei Bobrovsky IS the goalie of the future. But whose future?

Flyers GM Paul Holmgren's caught flack from skeptics ever since he remodeled this roster almost as dramatically as "Chaz Bono" went through a sex change. 

 

Signing RFA goaltender, Ilya Bryzgalov to a 9-year deal pretty much sealed Bob's fate here in Philadelphia. The skeptics have labeled our program's brass as liars, in so many words. Homer did indeed say that the Novokuznetsk, Russian native was our goalie of the future but now that Sergei's been added to the market as potential trade bait, how could anyone say the skeptics were wrong to call the Flyers management out?

Well, see, here's the deal -- "The world aint all sunshine and rainbows," as Rocky Balboa once put it. Things change. And somewhere along the line, fanatics forget that this is ultimately a business first. 

After last post-season's cold wake up call in net, Flyers Chairman Ed Snider stopped it nothing to go after a true #1 netminder. No questions asked, we needed to know what to expect in net. No more potential. No more "this could be his year between the pipes." 

Just an all around "THIS is the guy we need to get THIS done in net. Why? Because he's done THIS before."

 

There's no question Bobrovsky's got tremendous talent. He has more naturally given potential as a puck stopper than any up and coming goalie. But that's just my opinion. 

However, do you feel that draft? A slight breeze rolling over the skin of your neck like a flirtacious lover laying across from you between the sheets?

THAT, my friends, is an open window. A window of opportunity. And that opportunity is short lived. 

The window's there for the Flyers, but they only have so much time to get it done. Whether you believe the same opportunity would or wouldn't exist around the Flyers had they stuck with Sergei Bobrovsky is irrelevant. Because Ed "Orange Balls" Snider doesn't believe it does. And what he says, goes. 

 

Pro Hockey Talk from NBC's website lists the three reasons why Bob hit the market, and they are spot on:

  1. Ilya's newest home here in Philadelphia
  2. Money, money, money
  3. Waivers


Now before you become one of these naysayers who's been dishing the negative name calling in Snider and Holmgren's corner, try to see it this way -- Though they understand they promised us Bob the goalie of the future, they'll make it up to Sergei by not sitting his firey potential behind Bryzgalov as backup. 

Bobrovsky truly is a #1 goaltender in the making, but playing 15 to 20 tilts behind Bryzgalov will give Bob no chance to broaden his talent. We cannot send him to our AHL's affiliate, the Adirondack Phantoms because he'd have to enter waivers where he'd certainly be picked up by another club and the Flyers would get NO return on the kid. 

He's getting paid $1.75M (AAV) and this team's close enough to the cap ceiling as is. The Flyers would be smart to use that space elsewhere instead of a back up goaltender. 

Look, it sucks. We fell in love with Sergei, and when this town falls for a player then we turn the player into a god. He's topic of every conversation while we chow on our cheesesteaks at the dinner table. Our children have Bobrovsky backpacks, t-shirts, lunchboxes. We drop hundreds of our own blue collar dollars on their jerseys and other apparell. 

Hell, I wouldn't be surprised if our hometown crowd waved a few dozen Mother Russia country flags during games. But given the unfortunate circumstance(s), the best thing our front office could do for Sergei is dangle the Sickle & Hammer comrade in front of the management faces of other cities and see which snap first. 

Question is -- What could we possibly get for him?

 

This is where it may seem like we're getting a kick to the Man Tonsils. 

If we dealt Sergei (just Sergei) straight up....then we're looking at pretty lousy return. Though he's proven he can hack it in the NHL racking a 2.59 GAA and 9.15 SV% in his first season, that still does not eliminate the fact that the Flyers are desperate/eager to get rid of the kid. 

Being semi desperate to shed dollars off your cap puts management between a rock and hard place. But this is when and why our heads in office make their paychecks. 

After the signing of Wayne Simmonds yesterday, Homer pretty much has his team. He's gotta trim the fat. 

This could workout either/or for Sergei: 

  • Traded straight up for little return, and the Flyers say "Fare thee well and good luck."
  • Or I could buy into the speculation that Bob is now part of a package in yet another blockbuster deal to be made before training camp. 

 

Take it as you will, but the point is that our club is giving Sergei Bobrovsky the opportunity he so well deserves instead of burying him further under orange earth than Jimmy Hoffa.

It's a lousy way to part with Bob, but this is business.