Panthers’ Problems: The Bobrovsky Contract

M.G. McIntosh

OPINION

05/29/2021

CONCEPT REPORT (Sports)

INTRODUCTION

After the Florida Panthers disappointing 4-0 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning and elimination from the playoffs, some fans are asking if Sergei Bobrovsky’s contract could prove to be a problem. Bobrovsky posted a 1-2-0 record against Tampa, (the win was a clean-up for Driedger), a terrible .841 save percentage and 5.31 GAA. The Panthers signed their goalie to a 7-year $70 Million contract with a full no trade clause. Given the salary cap, even teams that need goaltending may not want to take a chance on Bobrovsky. Here’s two things I think the Panthers should consider.

LOOPHOLE #1

While Sergei Bobrovsky is currently under contract as a player, it may be possible to convince him to take a management position (though very unlikely considering most players want to be on the ice as long as they can move). The Panthers could still pay him the full value of the contract, but it would have to be amended from a player contract to a management contract. On the plus side, management contracts don’t count against the salary cap, giving the Panthers a chance to spend that money on other players. On the down side, they still have to pay the contract. The Panthers would likely be on the hook for at least half the contract anyway even if they could convince him to accept a trade. At least they would get some value out of the contract if they retained him as management and no NHL career lasts forever. One possible job for Bobrovsky might be a goaltending coach.

LOOPHOLE #2

This one is much more futuristic in nature. As it stands right now, NHL teams cannot trade for players in Europe. This might be something the Panthers advocate for in the coming years. If nothing else, it opens possible trade options and that might help teams move bigger contracts. It is pretty safe to assume, however, that these teams won’t have more money to spend than NHL teams, so this does limit what can be done. There’s probably hesitation in part because the NHL doesn’t want a ‘talent drain’ (losing too many players to another league). Then again, Bobrovsky’s own playoff performance might stand to discredit that theory, to say nothing of the many bad signings over the years. Either way, this likely won’t happen for a few years at least so I’m not holding my breath.

CONCLUSION

I’ll be interested in seeing how the Panthers handle the situation. It’s possible that Bobrovsky simply had a nagging injury and just never said anything. Most hockey players don’t announce these issues during the playoffs anyway, so we probably wouldn’t hear about it until the following season. It may turn out that there is nothing to worry about at all. Below I have included a link to the Steve Dangle Podcast –  just for interest sake. They give their take on the Bobrovsky Contract.

LINKS

  1. What Do The Florida Panthers Do With Bobrovsky & That HUGE Contract? – YouTube

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