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New York Islanders: Getting Comfortable With Sergei Bobrovsky Possibility

COLUMBUS, OH - APRIL 19: Sergei Bobrovsky #72 of the Columbus Blue Jackets prepares to make a save in Game Four of the Eastern Conference First Round during the 2018 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs against the Washington Capitals on April 19, 2018 at Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio. (Photo by Kirk Irwin/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Sergei Bobrovsky
COLUMBUS, OH - APRIL 19: Sergei Bobrovsky #72 of the Columbus Blue Jackets prepares to make a save in Game Four of the Eastern Conference First Round during the 2018 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs against the Washington Capitals on April 19, 2018 at Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio. (Photo by Kirk Irwin/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Sergei Bobrovsky
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The New York Islanders seem to be all in on getting UFA goalie Sergei Bobrovsky. I don’t think it’s a good idea, but I need to find a way to get comfortable with the possibility.

I want the New York Islanders to re-sign Robin Lehner. I know I’m not the only one. But the man at the top making the decisions for the Islanders, Lou Lamoriello, doesn’t seem to share the same enthusiasm I have for Robin Lehner.

On Thursday, The Athletic’s Arthur Staple (subscription required) let us know that the New York Islanders and Robin Lehner are still far apart in terms of the AAV on any extension. And on Friday, The Atheltic’s Craig Custance (subscription required) let us know how serious the New York Islanders were on trying to sign Sergei Bobrovsky.

According to Custance, the Panthers and Islanders are the two teams in the best position to land Bobrovsky. Landing the soon-to-be 31-year-old Bobrovsky is a very real possibility for the New York Islanders. And I need to get comfortable with that possibility.

Getting Comfy

So, in an effort to get comfortable with the possibility of Bobrovsky being the New York Islanders goalie for the foreseeable future, I wanted to know if top-tier goalies age well in today’s NHL.

With a career average 2.46GAA and 0.919SV%, his 255 career wins (54th winningest goalie in NHL history so far), and two Vezina trophies, it’s clear that Sergei Bobrovsky is one of the best active goalies in the NHL.

If the Islanders do sign Bobrovsky, it’s likely going to be to a long-term deal. You’d have to imagine it would be at least five years in length. How many ‘good’ years are we going to get out of Sergei Bobrovsky?

I’d imagine the first two years won’t be an issue, but what happens after he turns 33-years-old? Can a goalie still play well into his mid to late 30’s? So I looked at three elder-statesmen of the blue paint: Henrik Lundqvist (37 years old), Roberto Luongo (40 years old), and Pekka Rinne (36 years old).

In terms of goals against average and save percentage, have these three goalies been able to “keep it up” so to speak. Have they been able to play above average late into their careers like Bobrovsky might have to?

*All data from Hockey-Reference.com
**The GAA and SV% rows are league averages for that season

The table has a lot going on, I know. But it serves a purpose. Something to note, for both Lundqvist and Rinne this table covers ages 31 to 36, while for Luongo it covers ages 34 to 39.

Notes:

  • You can see that two of the three goalies hold their own until just this last season. Pekka Rinne is the only one with a goals-against-average and save percentage better than the league average in 2018-19.
  • As Henrik Lundqvist turns 34 in 2016-17 you can see a dip from being an above average goalie to average and below average.
  • Only once does Luongo fall below average before the 2018-19 season. His GAA dips above the average 2.59 in 2016-17 to 2.68. He was 37 years old that season.
  • Rinne won the Vezina trophy last season (he was 35 years old) with a 2.31GAA and a 0.927SV%.

In this day and age, it’s entirely possible for a goalie to continue being effective well into the later stages of their careers. Lundqvist may be regressing, but so is the team in front of him.

This, of course, isn’t definitive proof that Sergei Bobrovsky will be an effective goalie until the end of whatever contract the New York Islanders hypothetically sign him too. What the table is supposed to do is make me feel a bit better about having a goalie in his mid-30’s on the roster with a massive cap hit.

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I still think it’s a better idea to sign Robin Lehner than Sergei Bobrovsky to be the Islanders starting goalie. But if Lou is determined to bring in Sergei Bobrovsky, I can feel a little better knowing there are three recent examples of top-tier goalies playing well late in their careers.

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