NHL.com examines how goalie Sergei Bobrovsky's decision to sign with the Florida Panthers impacts the overall fantasy hockey landscape and projects his statistics for 2019-20. For more fantasy coverage, visit NHL.com/Fantasy.
Goalie Sergei Bobrovsky has signed a seven-year contract with the Florida Panthers, immediately filling their void as the No. 1 goalie. Bobrovsky, who had his third straight season of at least 37 wins and 62 appearances (.922 save percentage in span) with the Columbus Blue Jackets, should at least replicate that production with the Panthers, making him a top five fantasy goalie option for this season.
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Veteran goalie Roberto Luongo announced his retirement June 26, and the Panthers traded backup James Reimer to the Carolina Hurricanes on June 30, leaving a clear opportunity for Bobrovsky to be the workhorse goalie.
The addition of Bobrovsky could be the final piece to the puzzle for Florida to return to the Stanley Cup Playoffs. They hired new coach Joel Quenneville on April 8 and have a deep forward group, led by 90-point scorers Aleksander Barkov (96) and Jonathan Huberdeau (92). The Panthers also have a strong defensive core with Keith Yandle, Aaron Ekblad and Mike Matheson each expected to be fantasy-relevant this season. Plus/minus has been a concern for Panthers skaters in recent seasons, but that trend could drastically improve with the addition of Bobrovsky.
One concern about Bobrovsky's fantasy value is the challenge of moving from the Metropolitan Division to the Atlantic, which puts him up against the high-powered offenses of the Tampa Bay Lightning, Boston Bruins and Toronto Maple Leafs. He went 8-8-0 with a .888 save percentage and two shutouts in 16 games against Atlantic Division teams last season.
But this signing is all about the ceiling for Florida. If the Panthers take the next step, Bobrovsky, a two-time Vezina Trophy winner, could challenge his NHL career-high 41 wins from 2016-17 with the Blue Jackets. If Quenneville helps Florida correct its defensive issues, Bobrovsky could play at a .920 save percentage or better and nearly match his NHL career-high nine shutouts from last season.
Projection for Bobrovsky with Panthers in 2019-20: 60 games, 39 wins, .920 SV%, eight shutouts
Draft range in 12-team fantasy-league: Round 3 or 4 (picks 30-40)
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