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Kekalainen on Bobrovsky: "We're optimistic" for a deal

by Rob Mixer / Columbus Blue Jackets

Speculation will always exist, but Blue Jackets GM Jarmo Kekalainen said he doesn't have any immediate concerns about getting Sergei Bobrovsky signed to a new contract.

At his pre-draft media availability this morning at Nationwide Arena, Kekalainen said the club is in the midst of an ongoing process with Bobrovsky and his agent. Negotiations are continuing, Kekalainen said, and he's optimistic of a deal in the near future with the Vezina Trophy winner.

Bobrovsky, 24, won 21 games for the Blue Jackets in his first season with Columbus and posted a career-high four shutouts. He was named the NHL's top goaltender during the Stanley Cup Final, winning the award over Henrik Lundqvist and Antti Niemi.

"Nobody wants to lose the Vezina winner," Kekalainen said. "Obivously it's a big piece of the puzzle, he's a great player, great goaltender and we want him back. We're working hard to get him back, we're optimistic we can get him back and sign him to a contract. We've had some good conversations with his agent."

Bobrovsky is scheduled to become a restricted free agent on July 5, and qualifying offers are due to RFAs by July 2. That date is usually the first Monday following the draft, but this year was adjusted slightly to give teams traveling post-draft a better window.

Kekalainen also said his staff's goal is to acquire and retain players who want to play for the Blue Jackets, and he has no concerns about Bobrovsky in that regard.

"I'm very optimistic about Sergei Bobrovsky wanting to play for the Columbus Blue Jackets," he said.

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