Blue Jackets GM Jarmo Kekalainen said contract talks with goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky have picked up in recent days, just as Bobrovsky draws closer to learning if he's won the Vezina Trophy.
In fact, Kekalainen offered Bobrovsky's agent a curious approach regarding Bobrovsky and that trophy.
"I said, 'Let's just proceed as if he's already won it," Kekalainen told The Dispatch today. "Let's take that out of the equation. Let's assume he's won it, and move forward from there. But ... "
No deal is done. It doesn't appear that one is imminent, either. Bobrovsky would become a restricted free agent on July 5 if he remains unsigned.
"His representation is doing what they feel is best; I don't blame them," Kekalainen said. "We're doing what we think is best. I'm not discouraged at all. This is part of the process that both sides have to go through to get a deal done.
"But it's something we'd like to work at, get settled and put behind us."
Theofanous has declined numerous interview requests, and he's shielded Bobrovsky from media requests this summer, too. At last check, Theofanous said Bobrovsky was in St. Petersburg, Russia.
Bobrovsky was a huge part of the Blue Jackets' late push that nearly earned them a spot in the Stanley Cup playoffs. But that 19-5-5 finish was just the beginning of leverage for the 23-year-old.
The Vezina Trophy is a pretty big deal, and could push his price higher.The NHL will annouce the Vezina Trophy winner, among others, on Saturday before Game 2 of the Chicago - Boston Stanley Cup Final.