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Top 100 Goalies: No. 46 — Sergei Bobrovsky

What about ‘Bob’? A new dedication to fitness put him on track toward becoming an all-time great.

It’s bad enough to trade a Vezina Trophy winner. The knife blade slides deeper when it’s a two-time Vezina winner. And the infamous Sergei Bobrovsky deal, which occurred at the 2012 draft, is all the more devastating considering it was the goalie-starved Philadelphia Flyers who had ‘Bob’ and let him slip away to the Columbus Blue Jackets.

The three draft picks acquired for 23-year-old Bobrovsky became Anthony Stolarz, Taylor Leier and Justin Auger, who have combined for 64 NHL games. But teasing the Flyers for the transaction is a bit of revisionist history. Bobrovsky posted a .915 save percentage in 54 games as a rookie but slipped to .899 as a sophomore, losing the starting job to Ilya Bryzgalov. The Flyers signed Bobrovsky as an undrafted 21-year-old free agent out of the KHL, and he was now their backup. How could they have known what would happen after they traded him?

Bobrovsky became a star the minute he landed in Ohio, carrying the Jackets with a .932 SP in 2012-13 and becoming the first non-playoff goalie to win the Vezina since it became a voted-on award in 1981-82. Bobrovsky’s health failed him on and off after that as he kept sustaining groin strains, but he rededicated himself. He hardly had love handles at 6-foot-2 and roughly 200 pounds, but he and the team’s training staff decided he needed a more sinewy frame to improve his flexibility. Bobrovsky, considered by many to be the hardest-training goalie in the game, shaved 20 pounds by 2016-17 – and ended up with a career-best 63 starts, recapturing his throne as the game’s best goalie and earning his second Vezina. He broke his personal record with 65 starts the next season.

Still in his prime and healthier than ever, Bobrovsky has a chance to climb the NHL’s all-time leaderboard in several categories if he remains elite for another half-decade.

Born: Sept. 20, 1988, Novokuznetsk, USSR
NHL Career: 2010-present
Teams: Phi, Clb
Stats: 218-129-36, 2.44 GAA, .920 SP, 24 SO
All-Star: 2 (First-2)
Trophies: 2 (Vezina-2)

DID YOU KNOW?

Bobrovsky is the lone Russian to win a Vezina. Other modern-day non-North American winners: Pelle Lindbergh, Dominik Hasek (six times), Olaf Kolzig, Miikka Kiprusoff, Henrik Lundqvist, Tuukka Rask and Pekka Rinne.

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