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Bobrovsky Earns Top-Two Spot in NHL Network's Goalie Rankings

by Jameson Olive / @JamesonCoop /

There aren't many goalies more on top of their game than Sergei Bobrovsky right now.

In fact, NHL Network believes, at best, there might only be one.

Wrapping up their annual pre-season positional rankings, the network ranked Bobrovsky as the second-best netminder in the league entering the 2019-20 campaign, ahead of players such as Carey Price and Ben Bishop and behind only reigning Vezina Trophy winner Andrei Vasilevskiy.

"He has the ability to win a game on his own," said NHL Network analyst Darren Pang, who manned Chicago's crease from 1987-89. "He was helped by a very competitive defending team in Columbus, but let's face it, he made momentum-grabbing saves. He's a lightning rod for viewers. When you watch Bobrovsky and you're not even a hockey fan, you say, 'Who is that guy and what is he doing?' His compete-level in that net is what's so impressive."

Video: Sergei Bobrovsky checks in at No. 2 on the list

One of the gems of this summer's free agent class, Bobrovsky joined the Florida Panthers on a seven-year contract on July 1, bringing with him a stellar reputation and proven track record of winning. In fact, over the previous three seasons, his 115 victories pace all NHL goaltenders.

A two-time Vezina winner (2013, 2017), the 30-year-old has appeared in 457 career regular-season games split between Philadelphia (2010-12) and Columbus (2012-19), owning a 255-153-37 record, .919 save percentage, 2.46 goals against average and 33 shutouts in that span.

In his final tour with the Blue Jackets in 2018-19, he went 37-24-1 with a .913 save percentage and an NHL-leading nine shutouts before backstopping the team to its first playoff series win, a stunning sweep over top-seeded and Tampa Bay in the 2019 Eastern Conference First Round.

Against the Lightning, Bobrovsky surrendered just eight total goals in four games.

"He looks like he's 6-foot-5 or 6-foot-6, but he's not. He just plays big," Pang said of Bobrovsky, who actually stands 6-foot-2. "His shoulders are broad. Everything's up big. He's able to get down with elasticity in his legs. His work ethic is really, really off the charts as well."

Joining a core that already features several of the NHL's brightest young stars like Aleksander Barkov, Jonathan Huberdeau and Aaron Ekblad, Bobrovsky's arrival this offseason has many pundits around the league picking the Panthers to return to the playoffs sooner rather than later.

"I'm looking forward to watching the Florida Panthers with No. 72," Pang said.

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