Let’s ponder three questions facing the Florida Panthers…
[MORE: 2018-19 summary | Under Pressure | X-Factor]
1. What Sergei Bobrovsky will the Panthers get?
Three years ago, Bob won the Vezina on the heels of a ridiculous season where he posted 41 wins, a .931 save percentage and seven shutouts.
He followed that up with 37 wins, a .921 save percentage and five shutouts in 2017-18 and then and identical 37-win record last year with a league-leading nine shutouts and a .913 save percentage.
Nine shutouts are nothing to scoff at, but two straight years of a falling save percentage and a rising goals-against average might be.
Consider this: Bobrovsky’s 5v5 save percentage dropped from .939 during his latest Vezina season to .918 last year. The numbers of goals he saved above average went from 27 in 2016-17 to 34 in 2017-18 to just 0.2 last season. That’s a massive drop.
Don’t get me wrong, signing Bob was a huge get for the Panthers. At 31, the best years of Bobrovsky in his massive $70 million deal are likely coming over the next few seasons. The Panthers will do well with even league-average goaltending at this point. Bobrovsky supplied that last season, even if just.
And a rejuvenated Bob could be a dangerous one for opponents. He’s out of the craziness in Columbus now and perhaps with a much clearer head.