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Sergei Bobrovsky Creates Moral Problem for Flyers Fans



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The Eastern Conference Finals for the 2024 Stanley Cup playoffs have been set. On one side, former Philadelphia Flyers goalie Sergei Bobrovsky and his Florida Panthers. On the other, NHL villains Jacob Trouba, Matt Rempe, and the New York Rangers.

And despite missing the playoffs altogether, the Flyers and Flyers fans have a surprising amount of skin in these games. The pathos is simple.

At the cost of the hated rival Rangers winning the Eastern Conference and advancing to the Stanley Cup Finals, the Flyers will receive a higher draft pick, as the pick will be prevented from sliding any further. That pick—a 2024 first-round pick—was acquired in the 2022 Claude Giroux trade that brought top winger Owen Tippett to Philadelphia.

Giroux, of course, moved on from Florida after the 2022 postseason and subsequently signed with the Ottawa Senators.

Conversely, Flyers fans can devote some spare energy to cheering on Bobrovsky and the Panthers in the hope that another former Flyer will lift the Stanley Cup, or at least prevent the Rangers from doing so. And, in truth, there isn’t much parity between having the 28th overall pick or the 32nd overall pick in the 2024 NHL Draft.

Oh, and when Bobrovsky was traded by the Flyers to the Columbus Blue Jackets in 2012, the Flyers used the second-round pick they acquired to draft Anthony Stolarz. Stolarz is now backing up Bobrovsky in Florida, and together, the two formed arguably the best goalie duo in the NHL this year.

In the 2024 playoffs so far, Bobrovsky is 8-3-0. Last year, he was 12-6-0 as he brought the Panthers to the Stanley Cup Finals.

Talk about perpetuating the heartache evoked by the dire mistakes of past regimes.

In fairness, Bobrovsky has always been up and down during his career, and especially so since joining the Panthers in 2019. The 35-year-old Russian won the Vezina Trophy twice after leaving the Flyers, though, including once under current Flyers head coach John Tortorella when the two were with the Blue Jackets.

Stolarz, meanwhile, has made his living as one of the NHL’s best and most reliable backup goaltenders. He’s expected to be highly sought-after if or when he hits the free agent market on July 1.

Together, the two former Flyers goalies could take down the Presidents’ Trophy-winning Rangers. Or, if the draft is your thing, bring the Flyers the highest draft pick possible at this stage of the Stanley Cup playoffs.

Whose side are you on?

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