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Jackets complete two-year deal with Bobrovsky

by Rob Mixer / Columbus Blue Jackets

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Exhale, Blue Jackets fans. The top cop on the force is back on the case.

Sergei Bobrovsky and the Blue Jackets agreed to a two-year contract extension today, a few days before he was slated to become a restricted free agent (RFA). The agreement ends a somewhat-lengthy negotiating process that endured some fits and starts, but both sides were able to achieve their goal: get Bobrovsky under contract as the club's No. 1 goaltender.

Bobrovsky was the NHL's Vezina Trophy winner in 2012-13, posting a record of 21-11-6 in his first season with the Blue Jackets. He was acquired for three draft picks from the Philadelphia Flyers at the 2012 NHL Draft in Pittsburgh, and had one year remaining on an entry-level deal that carried a salary cap hit of $1.75 million.

Terms of Bobrovsky's new contract were not immediately disclosed.

Not only did Bobrovsky capture goaltending's highest honor in the NHL, he went a long way toward establishing himself as a No. 1 goalie and giving the Blue Jackets a stable presence between the pipes.

He was a rock for the club down the stretch, keeping the Blue Jackets in games and also stealing a few along the way, as they went 19-5-5 and missed the Stanley Cup playoffs by a mere tiebreaker to the Minnesota Wild.

At the NHL Draft on Sunday, Blue Jackets GM Jarmo Kekalainen spoke like a man who knew this deal was on the verge of being completed.

He stated multiple times over the past few weeks that resolving Bobrovsky's contract situation was the highest priority and one they would work hard at, and after a handful of meetings and phone conversations with Paul Theofanus (Bobrovsky's agent, who is based in the New York/New Jersey area), they were able to reach an agreement.

“Re-signing (Bobrovsky) was a top priority for our organization and once again ownership has given us the resources to build a winning team," Kekalainen said. "Bob is a terrific player and an outstanding young man with a work ethic that is second to none and was a well-deserved winner of the Vezina Trophy this season as the NHL’s top goaltender.

“He was a big part of the progress we made last season and we expect him to play an important role in the growth of our team."

With a two-year contract term, Bobrovsky will remain a restricted free agent and under team control at age 26 once the deal expires.

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