The Blue Jackets have a Vezina Trophy winner on their hands in Sergei Bobrovsky, but they want to make sure it's a fortified position within the organization.
Selecting two goaltenders at last year's NHL Draft in Pittsburgh (Oscar Dansk and Joonas Korpisalo) was merely a continuation of what came before. Former GM Scott Howson made a deal for Bobrovsky earlier that week, then signing Curtis McElhinney and retaining Anton Forsberg with an entry-level deal helped round out the goalie stable.
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The club also has University of Maine goaltender Martin Ouelette in its system. Allen York, who has spent time in the ECHL, AHL and NHL over the past few seasons, is scheduled to become a restricted free agent on July 5. Qualifying offers must be submitted by NHL clubs to RFAs by July 2 this year.
Got all that? Alright, let's continue.
The first item of business for John Davidson and Jarmo Kekalainen is to get Bobrovsky signed to a new contract, Davidson said, but there's more work beyond that. A fantastic season with Springfield (AHL) earned McElhinney a new one-year, NHL contract with the Blue Jackets but there are no guarantees he will backup Bobrovsky in the fall.
Acquired from the Phoenix Coyotes in the Antoine Vermette deal last February and signed to a two-way deal by Columbus in July, McElhinney went 29-16-3 for the Falcons in 2012-13 and posted nine shutouts - a Springfield franchise record.
Davidson said the Blue Jackets plan to add another goaltender who can play in the NHL, and not simply a player they've pegged for AHL duty.
"We’re still working on getting Bob signed," Davidson told BlueJackets.com. "It’s something we’re going to try very hard to get done and we feel comfortable that it will get done. We also have Curtis McElhinney here and we’re still looking for another goaltender, either NHL or Springfield because you’ve got to have three.
"We’re weighing our options there, and we’ll get that taken care of as we move along."