Flyers must find a fixture in goal


So here the Flyers are again, crossing their fingers with another unproven, recycled goaltender with little or no playoff experience.

With Ray Emery (bone deterioration) and Michael Leighton (high ankle sprain) done for the season, the Flyers have turned to Brian Boucher, a 33-year-old backup whose only postseason work in the NHL came 10 long years ago, when he was a Flyers rookie.

“Who’s to say Brian Boucher is not the one to lead us to the Promised Land?” Flyers scout Neil Little said. “He’s done it before.”

Ten years ago, yes. But after seeing Marty Biron, Robert Esche, Roman Cechmanek, Sean Burke, Jeff Hackett and John Vanbiesbrouck spin through the revolving door that leads to the Flyers’ goaltending crease, fans have grown impatient with their team’s inability to solve a decade-long goaltending crisis.

In fact, in their 42-year history, the Flyers have had 44 goaltenders play at least one game. Of those 44, only Ron Hextall (489), Bernie Parent (486) and Doug Favell (215) have played in more than 200 games.

There is a multitude of reasons for the Flyers’ inability to develop a No. 1 goaltender.

They have drafted just three goalies in the first round — Boucher in 1995, Jean-Marc Pelletier in 1997 and Maxime Ouellet in 1999 — and none developed into a long-term NHL starter.

They have repeatedly made mistakes on the free-agent market, signing Vanbiesbrouck, Burke and Hackett when they were past their primes and bravely rolling the dice on Emery last summer.

To correct the problem, the Flyers hired Jeff Reese as a full-time goaltending coach and Little as the team’s goaltending scout.

Reese has been credited with tweaking Leighton’s mechanics to a point where the team considers him a potential NHL starter after years as a backup.

5 Responses to Flyers must find a fixture in goal

  1. ChyldProdigy says:

    Its too bad for Emery, it seemed like such a good fit to have such a fiesty goaltender between the pipes for the Bullies.
    I get the craziest feeling they are going to end up with Theodore or Turco next year…neither will solve their long-standing problem.
    Cory Schneider should be the name on Holmgren's lips.  Price would be a good runner up in my opinion.

  2. bbruins37 says:

    They should go for Price. He needs a nice welcoming market that isn't tough on their players, and what better place than Philly?

    lol seriously though I think that he's the best option out there. It's not like he's been bad in MTL by any stretch, but a change of scenery could do wonders for him. Schneider looks great but is unproven. You can't just throw him into the fire in Philly. From the Flyers perspective you aren't just getting a quick fix but a long-term solution. Obviously the price will be alot higher (no pun intended), but I think it would be worth it in the end as there woud be a solid young core there.

    I wonder if they can get around trading Carter for him. You'd have to figure JVR would be going the other way.

  3. leafy says:

    It's deja vu all over again.

  4. ChyldProdigy says:

    I can agree with Schneider being unproven, but I think it is as good a bet as any to play Schneider behind Leighton and hope to strike oil.  Better than auditioning Nabokov, Turco or Theodore anyway but possibly not a better option than Price.
    Hard to say what the market will be for Price, cuz I doubt Montreal can/will sign BOTH Halak and Price which removes a lot of their leverage unless there is a bidding war.
    JVR and a 2nd wouldn't be totally crazy unless another team enters the race methinks, and who else is really hunting for a starter?  St. Louis or possibly Ottawa, but I doubt they will move on from Leclaire just yet OR that the Habs would ever allow Price to play in a Sens uni.
    The options are very limited…looks to me like Price will almost certainly be in Philly next year.

  5. cam7777 says:

    Massive Shakeup Deal in Summer –

    To Philadelphia:

    Mikka Kipprusoff
    Michael Backlund
    Adam Pardy
    rights to Christopher Higgins

    To Calgary:

    Daniel Briere
    James vanRiemsdyk
    Brian Boucher
    rights to Ray Emery

    Calgary gets the center they want for Iginla (not top grade, but definitely an improvement), an elite winger prospect, and a complete swap in net with what was working pretty well for Philly at the start of the year.

    Philly gets a proven number one goalie who should be good for a while and finally put to bed all the concerns about the team constantly switching number one goalies.  They lose Briere's horrendous contract, but it costs them James vanRiemsdyk.

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