MOSCOW, August 26 (R-Sport) – Contract negotiations with SKA St. Petersburg intended to draw Vezina-winning goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky away from Columbus Blue Jackets were going on at a “high level” this offseason, the player has told R-Sport.
SKA, one of the Russia-based KHL’s wealthiest teams, reportedly offered the 24-year-old netminder $10 million per season before he became a restricted free agent in early July. Bobrovsky, whose 21-11 record and 2.00 goals against average last season earned him the Vezina Trophy as the NHL’s top goaltender, eventually signed a two-year deal with Columbus on July 1.
Still, the Novokuznetsk native, who starred for SKA during last season’s NHL lockout, told R-Sport at Russia’s Olympic national team orientation camp over the weekend negotiations to return to St. Petersburg had been rolling forward.
“Basically, the negotiation process was moving along, and at a high level,” he said, noting, however, that the NHL was the best career option “by far.”
While SKA’s package was never confirmed, team executive Alexander Medvedev, who is also league president, said in June it was “an excellent offer.”
Bobrovsky said money was not the sole determining factor in his decision to return to small-market Columbus, which had the NHL's seventh-lowest payroll last season.
“Of course, money plays a big role in my life, but my decisions don’t come together just for the money,” he said.