The Future of Roman Cechmanek

Ever since their second-round loss at the hands of the Ottawa Senators, the Philadelphia Flyers have been trying to decide how to sever ties with their soon-to-be former number one goaltender. General Manager Bob Clarke announced at his end-of-season press conference that he believed that it was in “everyone’s best interest” that Cechmanek not return to the Flyers for the 2003-04 season.

Cechmanek, a sixth-round pick in the 2000 Entry Draft, burst onto the Flyers’ scene early in the 2000-01 season when he beat out a struggling young pair of netminders in Brian Boucher and Maxime Ouellet. The veteran of the Czech Republic league won 35 games, posted 10 shutouts along with a 2.01 GAA, and finished the season as a Vezina trophy finalist in his “rookie” season. Over his brief three-year NHL career, he has won 92 games, posting a 1.96 GAA along with 20 shutouts.

Last season he was voted team MVP by his fellow Flyers, with 33 wins and a 1.83 GAA. He also shared the William Jennings trophy with his capable backup Robert Esche and New Jersey’s Martin Brodeur.

It is difficult to argue with these statistics. Cechmanek, while he has his detractors amongst the fan base, is an undeniable talent who can carry a team into the playoffs. What he does when he gets there is another story.

This time last year, Cechmanek was nearly run out of town due to his more-than-public outburst against his team as he did his best to do win against the Sens, while his mates were busy stabbing then-head coach Bill Barber in the back.

This time around, Cechmanek stood up to the challenge that was the Toronto Maple Leafs, beating that team in a seven-game slugfest. Then came the Senators again. Roman and the Flyers went toe-to-toe with the team not only scored the third-most goals during the regular season, but also was the President’s Trophy winner. After four games, the series was tied at two games apiece, the two Flyers victories coming on Cechmanek shutouts. The wheels came off after that, as Checko allowed eight goals in the following two games while his teammates only managed three.

Which is what brings us to the Cechmanek quandry that faces the Flyers currently. Clarke has publicly stated that he would definitely try to trade Cechmanek, something that was thought to have occured last year but instead happened to Boucher. Both Clarke and head coach Ken Hitchcock are ready to go with Esche as the starter, but whether or not that actually happens remains to be seen.

What also remains to be seen is where Roman Cechmanek will be playing hockey next season. Here are some possiblities:

Colorado –

With the status of Patrick Roy now retiring, there may be immediate need. The Flyers would be wise to offer Cechmanek’s services to Pierre Lacroix. A combination of David Aebischer and Phil Sauve is not enticing to the rabid fans of a franchise that could indeed win another Cup if the bones were rolled the right way.

Chicago –

Jocelyn Thibault is, was, and always will be a question mark, and no one is shaking in their CCM’s when they look at Steve Passmore. Cechmanek offers them an immediate upgrade in the net, something that they should really consider. Russians and Eastern Europeans are always welcomed with open arms by GM Mike Smith, yet that franchise has had little hope to offer its fanbase.

Nashville –

Tomas Voukoun played well enough to get Mike Dunham traded, and there was even talk of this young franchise sneaking into the playoffs. Then Vokoun came back down to earth. Youngster Jan Lasak seems to be nothing more than a career backup. Cechmanek could fit here pretty damn well, as the pressure of playing in a bigger market would be off his shoulders. However, with a weaker defensive corps in front of him, who knows how he’ll react.

St. Louis –

Talk about a franchise that can’t settle on a goalie. How many did they use last season, five? Six? Then trading for a washed-up Chris Osgood? Always a solid defensive team, Cechmanek could thrive for the Blues, and would benefit from having studs like Al MacInnis and Chris Pronger in front of him.

Vancouver –

While publicly supporting Dan Cloutier, Brian Burke has to be thinking a change is needed. As nice as Cloutier played in the regular season, he stunk up the joint in the post-season. Giving up 45 goals in 14 games is just not going to cut it in the Pacific Northwest. This could be the change of scenery that Cechmanek needs, all the way on the other side of the continent.

Boston –

Kind of a longshot, given how, oh, what’s the word – we’ll say “frugal” this organization is. But for a franchise that refused to take back a capable Byron Dafoe, going with Steve Shields (a career back-up) and John Grahame (since traded and retired), then over-paying for Jeff Hackett (never a long-term solution and contemplating retirement also), Cechmanek could be just what the doctor ordered. But, like I said, Harry Sinden and his lackey Mike O’Connell wouldn’t want Roman’s salary unless the Flyers offered to eat some of it.

Those are just a few possible scenarios. While there have been rumors of possible Flyer dealings with Tampa Bay involving Nikolai Khabibulin and Phoenix involving Sean Burke, I don’t see anything happening on those fronts.

If anyone else has any ideas, please feel free to share them. I’d love to entertain any intelligent discussion about where Roman Cechmanek could play next season.

Hell, he could be back again in Philadelphia. Stranger things have happened.

Coming soon, a look at the post-Cechmanek era for the Flyers franchise (if it ever happens!)

That’s all for now. Release the hounds!

89 Responses to The Future of Roman Cechmanek

  1. bender says:

    Get your advanced copy of Defenestrates “101 Ceckmanek’s Unibrow Jokes” for the low price of $19.99!!!

    But wait there’s more…order before July 1st and get your very own, fake unibrow glasses!!!!


  2. orangestreak73 says:

    Kevin Hodson retired…

    That’s probably what he’s thinking about…

    Grahame’s not goin’ anywhere…

    He may even take over the starter position in TB…

  3. flyerfanofthepeg says:


  4. flyerfanofthepeg says:

    he can host some info-mercial on plucking uni-brows, with special guest Bobby Holik

  5. bender says:

    HOw about Cecko and a pick for Brind’Amour??

    He’d be wonders in between Gagne and Williams…..and allow us to move Handzus or possibly Primeau for the right deal.




    Somik-Lapointe-Some guy better than Brashear, Murray or Sacco

    The Fridge can play sparingly……

  6. big_booty says:

    …Belfour actually prefers Maker’s Mark.

    You really can’t argue with his taste there.

  7. big_booty says:

    Thank you for setting the record straight. The only thing I had heard (I think it was on Spector’s or something) was that the Tampa Bay backup was unhappy and retired for the good of the team.

    Bless me, father, for I have sinned…

  8. Rico71 says:

    …and can Samsonov stay healthy?

    He’s missed more games than he’s played the last 2 years. I’d be weary of him because of this. Though I agree he’s a great player.

  9. WeStSiDe says:

    Kevin Weekes.

  10. MantaRay says:

    Deadmarsh is damaged goods, you look to pick at some of LA’s youth instead.

  11. MantaRay says:

    I like Esche as well, but the fans in Philly can be fickle.

    I would hate for Esche to become a starter, have a decent year and see the Flyers get knocked out of the playoffs because they can’t score and see Esche get the blame. Its seems to be a pattern.

    UFA route looks more DOA: Felix Potvin, Tom Barrasso and Trevor Kidd????

    Cechmanek still looks like the best alternative right now.

  12. big_booty says:

    I agree that Pierre Lacroix might take a flyer (no pun intended, but it’s a good one!) on Cechmanek. That situation could be beneficial for both teams.

    Perhaps Checko and another player/pick for Hinote and Reinprecht?

    As for the Waterboy, he won’t be coming back to Philadelphia. Aside from his late run in ’99-’00, he’s been too inconsistent. That’s what got him traded in the first place. He also wasn’t happy splitting time with Cechmanek in ’01-’02, so what makes you think he’ll want to do it again with Esche next season.

  13. big_booty says:

    Yes, there is a pattern to it all. A team full of scorers that can’t score is not a desirable thing come springtime.

    Like I said, this could all be much ado about nothing. Cechmanek could still be having pucks bouncing off his black and orange mask next fall.

    The names you mention frighten me more than you could possibly know. That’s why Nabakov looked so attractive.

  14. Stuv_Dogg says:

    You wanna trade one guy who falls on his face in the playoffs (Cechmanek) for another guy who falls on his face in the playoffs (Turek)? Not so good …

    Remember how Turek couldn’t win behind a solid St. Louis team a couple of years ago which lead to his exile to Calgary.

  15. defenestrate says:

    That’s right, turn on your father…. keep it up and I’ll buy you a season pass to NASCAR (sitting next to Mikster).

  16. defenestrate says:

    Now THAT is SCTP-level material. This young man is showing potential…

  17. bender says:

    yes, Cecko and a higher pick for Brind’Amour and Weekes…..We could play off Weekes and Esche until one stood out or we had a shot at a better goalie!!!!

  18. bender says:

    LOL, honestly DAD, I didn’t mean it as a burn, I was only adding to the humor of the whole Unibrow story.

    Luke Skywalker OUT!

  19. bender says:

    Is he really that bad?? (injury wise), I’ve had a few people mention him being injury prone now…Damn he was a great player at one time!

  20. aafiv says:

    Too many problems with this scenario…

    1.) Woywitka is too valuable to be thrown in with this nonsensical trade.

    2.) LeClair is too expensive for LA.

    3.) For the quality going out, you have nothing being sent back to Philly in return.

  21. MantaRay says:

    OK. I’ll put in a call to Doug Wilson.

  22. matteo says:

    Well I wouldn’t say that I WANTED to trade for him…I was just throwing that possibility out there.

  23. defenestrate says:

    If he doesn’t trip and drop them…….


  24. hockeywhore says:

    Vishnevski plays for Anaheim

  25. hockeywhore says:

    Brinda’mour is not going back to Philly. There’s too much bad blood with Clarke.

  26. hockeywhore says:

    Calgary doesn’t want Cechmanek. You think the first thing on their mind after firing their GM is to make a risky blockbuster like that? Not likely. And Philly isn’t about to give away Woywitka. He’s got too much potential, they won’t trade him until he’s been given a chance like Brendl.

  27. flyersdude123 says:

    I don’t remember Brind having any problems with Clarkey, I remember Clarkey feeling bad about trading Brind, and everyone in Philly still likes Brind.

  28. MantaRay says:

    He WAS a great player, but in the last few seasons he’s had several concussions–the last one put him out for the season. He could be a high risk acquisition.

  29. defenestrate says:

    You should get this “flyerfan” guy an SCTP application – he’s showing some class……

  30. defenestrate says:

    I didn’t know that. See, there’s hope for him yet.

  31. gladiator says:

    Roman Cechmanek is a King!

  32. aaron says:

    Nabakov’s proven? He’s never made it out of the 2nd round (like Cechmanek), had a really bad season this year, is young, and somewhat streaky. Philly fans would eat him up, if the Flyers could even get him. I don’t think any goalies except possibly Brodeur and Giguere could hold up in Philly for more than two years w/o half the city calling for their removal (while at the same time criticizing Clarke for not sticking w/ one of the previous goalies they clamored for him to get rid of).

  33. aaron says:

    I thought you might have, but he’s a UFA anyway. If you want to trade for him, that’s your buisiness, I guess. :p

  34. aaron says:

    He hasn’t. Hell, he played in Game Six against New Jersey (or was it Game Five? can’t remember how many it took for them to go out).

  35. aaron says:

    LA can’t afford this deal. Anyway, you aren’t going to pull Deadmarsh out of there. Maybe Palffy, but not Deadmarsh. And isn’t Woywitka supposed to be really good or something?

    Sides, 5 for 2 is not a good idea.

  36. OldNord says:

    He’s talked about Visnovsky.

  37. flyersdude123 says:

    Well now we know Roman Cechmanek’s future, its gonna be w/ the Kings

  38. calflyers says:

    wow, all that “blah blah” and he went to LA

    well, it WAS a nice article : )

  39. MantaRay says:

    Good thing you didn’t wait to write this piece, very timely.

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