Bobrovsky Can ‘Right Ship’ For Panthers, Says New GM: Report

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Sergueï Bobrovsky may bounce back next season for the Florida Panthers, new general manager Bill Zito told Sportsnet on Thursday.

“Let go of the guy a little bit,” Zito said of the goalie. “It’s a new environment, a different structure, a different team, a different system. If I bet on someone to straighten the ship, to figure out what they need to do to improve, that’s this guy. Either way, he can do it on his own, he does it. [Bobrovsky] wiil be good. “Bobrovsky, who made his debut season with the Panthers after signing a seven-year, $ 70 million (average annual value of $ 10 million) contract this offseason, had his career-highest goals against average of 10 seasons in the NHL (3.23) and the second-lowest save percentage (.900) for Florida (35-26-8, .565 percentage points), which finished 10th in the Eastern Conference . Bobrovsky had a 3.07 GAA and .901 save percentage in a four-game loss to the New York Islanders in the Best of 5 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Zito knows Bobrovsky. Prior to being hired by Florida on September 2 to replace Dale Tallon, he worked in the Columbus Blue Jackets front office for seven seasons, most recently as senior vice president of hockey operations and associate general manager. Bobrovsky played for the Blue Jackets from 2012-19 and had a 2.41 GAA and 0.921 save percentage in 374 games for them (213-130-27).

Zito said the Panthers will look to improve the staff in front of their goalie.

“We have to attack the list,” he said. “Who can grow up, which is what we need to tackle. We must move towards a coherent and concerted effort. Look at the islanders, they do it best. Columbus is doing a very good job. Can we follow this pattern? Then we are going in the right direction. ”

Florida have 13 players under contract for next season, including center Alexandre Barkov, forward Jonathan huberdeau and defender Aaron Ekblad.

Zito said he was aware that opposing teams would approach the Panthers to make trades.

“I’ll listen to anything,” he said. “But I’ll say no to most things. ”

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