Blue Jackets goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky has been activated off injured reserve after missing 16 games because of a groin strain. He is expected to dress as the backup Saturday against the Colorado Avalanche and should be back between the pipes soon, a development that has sizable fantasy implications in any leagues where he's available.
Owned in 79 percent of Yahoo leagues but deemed droppable after his injury in some fantasy formats, Bobrovsky still has a ton of upside with 37 games remaining in the regular season. The Stanley Cup Playoffs may be a pipe dream for the Blue Jackets, who are last in the NHL standings with 36 points (11 back of the second wild card in the Eastern Conference), but Bobrovsky still has a chance to salvage his fantasy stock.
Bobrovsky is 11-12-1 on the season with a 2.52 goals-against average and .916 save percentage. His SV% is tied for 13th among goalies with 25 or more games played this season; not awful, but certainly not up to standard for a goalie who won the Vezina Trophy three seasons ago. He started this season with an 0-6-0 record while allowing 26 goals, but followed with an 11-6-1 stretch prior to his injury, in which he posted a .936 save percentage and tied for the most wins among any goalie League-wide in that span.
Since Bobrovsky was injured Dec. 8 in an overtime loss to the Los Angeles Kings, the Blue Jackets have fallen flat with a combination of Curtis McElhinney (prior to an injury of his own), Anton Forsberg and Joonas Korpisalo. Counting the loss in the game Bobrovsky exited, the Blue Jackets went 5-10-2 in his absence, a trend coach John Tortorella could see coming.
"I’ll tell you what impact Bob had on the game -- we don't have a chance, I mean we're not even close, if it isn't for Bob," Tortorella told BlueJackets.com after their Dec. 8 loss. "We're down probably four or five goals going into that third period if we don't have Bob."
On a negative note, one of Bobrovsky's staples on the blue line, David Savard, will miss time because of an upper-body injury sustained Wednesday against the Toronto Maple Leafs. But don't forget Columbus acquired Seth Jones for center Ryan Johansen in a trade with the Nashville Predators last week. It remains to be seen how Jones, a prized young defenseman in his third NHL season, will fare at each end of the ice in his expanded role, but this upgrade could help Bobrovsky's cause in the second half.
Another sign of promise as the Blue Jackets look to rebound is their near-perfect finish to the 2014-15 season. They went 12-0-1 in their final 13 games last season with a similar core to their current team. Definitely add Bobrovsky in any fantasy leagues where he's available, as there's a chance he could start 30-plus games down the stretch with solid peripherals.