The Flyers Playoff Goalie Solution
Ok, before i bore you to death, the answer is already playing for the team. His name is Robert Esche. You may disagree, but he has just as good a chance of succeeding (or a greater chance) than any goalies the flyers could acquire before the trade deadline.
Face it, Cechmanek was a great regular season goalie, but embarrassed himself once the playoffs rolled around. His erratic style was not sufficient to steal any games the flyers couldn’t win with offense. Almost any goalie in the league would be an improvement over that, except maybe Jeff Hackett. The Flyers couldnt spend years waiting for Cechmanek to be comfortable in the playoffs with their current lineup. They signed Hackett in the offseason, and to the displeasure of some, stuck with Esche and Hackett.
But why is Esche the goalie for the Flyers? Theres a simple answer, there are no goalies available that have had much more playoff success than Esche, who has only played half of one game. There’s talk of the Flyers acquiring Sean Burke, Olaf Kolzig, Nikolai Khabibulin, and now Roman Turek.
Burke has only made it past the first round once, about 16 years ago. Thats about as good a reason as any to not call him the playoff savior. Kolzig has only made it past the first round once, even though it was to the finals. However he has done very little in Washington since, especially in the playoffs. Khabibulin, available or not, also has only been past the first round once, but did not seem very stable. Tampa Bay most likely does not wish to trade him anyway. The pattern continues, Roman Turek has also only been past the first round once, with the Blues. The Blues traded him because of his performance in critical games. Not one of these goalies sounds like an improvement over Esche.
There are only four active goalies in the NHL that have ever won the Stanley Cup – Martin Brodeur, Ed Belfour, Chris Osgood, and Dominik Hasek. None of these goalies are available, except maybe Hasek, but he is too old and seems to have left his skill back home in the Czech Republic. Whats the point of making a goalie trade if you won’t get what you need?
Some would suggest Curtis Joseph, but after his current season, i think he would only hurt the Flyers, not help them. How many goalies are actually available? Not many.
Esche has had a great season so far, with one of the highest winning percentages in the NHL. Trading for a goalie would just disrupt his play, much like naming Cechmanek number one last year did. Until he shows hes not worthy, I don’t see the point of acquiring someone else.
With all the talk about the Flyers goaltending, why are other teams forgotten? The Avs will be using first timer David Aebischer. The RedWings may be using Manny Legace. Vancouver will still be with Dan Cloutier. Boston, the Islanders, Dallas, and Nashville would all be using inexperienced goalies, but no one ever comments on their situation.
Remember, no one ever expected Patrick Roy, Ron Hextall, or Jose Theodore to be any good either, but they were given a chance. Give Esche some credit, he’s gotten the Flyers to where they are now, but all anyone can talk about is who the Flyers are getting and when.
The way i see it, only 6 current playoff teams would have an advantage. Toronto, New Jersey, Montreal, San Jose, Ottawa, and St. Louis are the only teams with goalies that have played well in the playoffs. Until Esche shows a reason to sit him out, he should be the number one goalie.