Dreger: Islanders would be keenly interested in Bobrovsky

Where Sergei Bobrovsky will be playing for the 2019-20 season remains a mystery, but one club that might love to add him to their roster is the New York Islanders.

Bobrovsky, who turned 30 years old Thursday, will become an unrestricted free agent in July. The goaltender has been eligible to sign a contract extension with the Columbus Blue Jackets for several months, but it doesn’t appear as if that’s going to happen anytime soon.

During a Thursday radio appearance on Ottawa’s TSN 1200, Darren Dreger was asked to revisit his Insider Trading information from Wednesday evening regarding Jarmo Kekalainen’s unwillingness to trade Bobrovsky or pending UFA Artemi Panarin at this point.

Following that discussion, Dreger was asked if he could see the Blue Jackets’ scenario with Bobrovsky and Joonas Korpisalo unfolding similarly to that of the Tampa Bay Lightning with Ben Bishop and Andrei Vasilevskiy.

“It’s possible,” allowed Dreger. “I haven’t looked closely at what Columbus has coming, but I can tell you one team that would be keenly interested, and I believe that to be the New York Islanders. The Islanders have been searching for a goaltender that can be a difference-maker for quite some time. At least the media, we have talked about it for a long, long time, the need of the New York Islanders. Now with Lou Lamoriello there, he wasn’t able to get that work done and wasn’t able to convince John Tavares to sign on long term, so I get the feeling that Lou is going to be pretty hungry knowing that he’s going to have to try to snag a goaltender at some point.

“Whether there’s a deal to be made, whether or not it’s the Islanders or another team that jumps in on Bobrovsky as a free agent, there’ll be no shortage of suitors.”

Bobrovsky is in the final season of a four-year, $29.7 million contract and has a no-move clause.

Dreger did reiterate at one point in that TSN 1200 discussion on the Blue Jackets and Panarin-Bobrovsky that “I was told point-blank that there’s no interest in trading those guys. But in saying that, a lot can change as you creep closer to the trade deadline. And if Panarin remains steadfast in his position of not wanting to stay in Columbus long term or Bobrovsky decides that he too wants to test the open market, well then the Blue Jackets are going to have to make some pretty tough decisions come trade deadline day or prior to. But they’re going to wait and see where they’re at on the standings before they get to that stage.”

Contract-related info via CapFriendly