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Jackets ‘absolutely’ want Bobrovsky for ‘long-term’

2013 NHL Awards

CHICAGO, IL - JUNE 15: Sergei Bobrovsky #72 of the Columbus Blue Jackets poses with the Vezina Trophy after he was named winner for 2012-13 NHL season during Game Two of the NHL 2013 Stanley Cup Final at United Center on June 15, 2013 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images)

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The Columbus Blue Jackets are getting a taste of life without Sergei Bobrovsky.

And it tastes like losing.

Bobrovsky (fractured finger) has missed the last seven Jackets’ games. Each game has been a loss. Combined, Columbus has surrendered 30 goals over that stretch, most of them with backup Curtis McElhinney between the pipes.

Which brings us to this blog excerpt, by ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun:

Columbus’ star netminder will be a restricted free agent after the season. Re-signing him two years ago wasn’t easy. And you can expect there will again be serious overtures from his native country in Russia to go play in the KHL.

The Jackets made an offer during training camp that was rejected and the two sides haven’t spoken since.

GM Jarmo Kekalainen told LeBrun that the offer was a “fair” one and that the Jackets “absolutely want to keep a guy like that and for long-term.”

But with Bobrovksy eligible to become an unrestricted free agent in the summer of 2016, if Columbus wants him locked up long-term, it’s going to cost big money. Almost certainly the 2013 Vezina Trophy winner will be asking for a raise from his current cap hit of $5.625 million. Maybe not Henrik Lundqvist money (seven years, $8.5 million per), but possibly Tuukka Rask (eight years, $7 million), and at the very least Semyon Varlamov (five years, $5.9 million).