Flyers deal Bobrovsky to Columbus for three picks

Posted: June 25, 2012

PITTSBURGH - In a span of 10 short months last year, Sergei Bobrovsky shifted from a complete unknown signee from Russia, to the Flyers' goaltender of the future, to Ilya Bryzgalov's also-ran.

On Friday, after an uncomfortable run as Bryzgalov's backup, Bobrovsky was traded by the Flyers to a new home in Columbus.

The Flyers made their second predraft trade in as many years with the Blue Jackets, shipping the 23-year-old to Ohio in exchange for three draft picks, including the No. 45 and 117 selections on Saturday, and Phoenix' fourth-round pick in 2013.

The Flyers did not have a second-round pick in this year's draft, having dealt two of them in obtaining Nicklas Grossmann and Pavel Kubina in February. They now have five picks (No. 45, 77, 111, 141, 201) when Day 2 of the draft resumes on Saturday at Consol Energy Center.

For both the Flyers and Bobrovsky, the trade was a win-win. Bobrovsky gets a chance now to battle with Steve Mason for the Blue Jackets' No. 1 job - with the minimum guarantee of seeing more than the 29 appearances he did last year in Philadelphia.

The Flyers, in turn, were able to unload the second-highest paid backup in the NHL for three valuable draft picks, at $1.75 million. The Flyers can bring in a stable veteran who can provide a calming influence for Bryzgalov for nearly half the price.

Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren was not available to comment on the Bobrovsky trade before Friday night's draft began.

"Personally, and I think as an organization, I think 'Bob' is a very good goalie," Flyers president Peter Luukko said. "He's going to do very well, and he's got a great opportunity in Columbus. He'll get a great chance to play there. Ilya Bryzgalov is our No. 1 goalie. I think this is something that works out well for both sides."

Now, with only two rookie goaltenders under contract for next season, the Flyers will need to find a backup for Bryzgalov. Finnish giant Niko Hovinen - who stands at 6-7, 200 pounds as a 24-year-old - and undrafted free agent Cal Heeter out of Ohio State likely won't be able to make the jump to the NHL next season.

Three prime backups are available as free agents on July 1 - former Flyer Marty Biron, Florida's Scott Clemmensen and New Jersey's Johan Hedberg. A source close to Biron said he is looking to stay in New York, where he has a fantastic relationship with Henrik Lundqvist. Clemmensen might require a raise from his $1.3 million, and Hedberg will turn 40 during next season.

That could leave former Flyer Brian Boucher as a target. Boucher, 35, has one more year left with Carolina at $950,000 after playing only 10 games last season because of a groin injury.

Boucher's family remained in South Jersey last season, and he has close ties with Holmgren. He would require little more than a late-round draft pick to bring him back - and after going through hell and back in Philadelphia, perhaps he could teach Bryzgalov a thing or two.


Contact Frank Seravalli at seravaf@phillynews.com.

Follow him on Twitter @DNFlyers. Read his blog, Frequent Flyers, at www.philly.com/frequentflyers.

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