For the last several years, it’s been the same story for the Philadelphia Flyers: great team, but questionable goaltending.
The Flyers have finally addressed that issue with the acquisition of Ilya Bryzgalov’s rights. Nothing is guaranteed yet, as Bryzgalov is an unrestricted free agent, but Philly now has a couple weeks head start to try to sign him.
It has been a revolving door in the crease for the Flyers over the last few seasons; just look at this year Stanley Cup playoffs and you will see what I am talking about. Sergei Bobrovsky started the playoffs and was pulled for Brian Boucher, and then Boucher would start a few games only to be pulled for Michael Leighton. Leighton got one start, but the Flyers went back to the Boucher and Bobrovsky combo.
It’s a wonder Flyer goalies have any confidence at all, as Bobrovsky went from the starter to the press box after two games.
Over the last three seasons, the Flyers have used Bobrovsky, Boucher, Leighton, Ray Emery, Johan Backlund, Jeremy Duchesne, Martin Biron and Antero Niittymaki during the course of the season. That’s eight different goalies over three seasons.
The Flyers acquired Bryzgalov’s rights by trading away Matt Clackson, a third-round pick in the 2012 draft and future considerations. The downside to this deal is that someone will need to be moved to create cap space for Bryzgalov. Either way, the Flyers will be a better team with Bryzgalov in net than without him.
Over the past two seasons, Bryzgalov has been a fantasy stud. In the 2009-10 season, he started 69 games, had a 42-20-6 record, posted a 2.29 GAA, 0.920 save percentage and had eight shutouts. Last season he started 67 games, had a 36-20-10 record, posted a 2.48 GAA, 0.921 save percentage and had seven shutouts. Those are fantastic numbers and should only improve if the Flyers can sign him.
On a side note, I am very upset over the Aaron Rome suspension.
Rome is not a dirty player in any fashion. Nathan Horton was carrying the puck and Rome was stepping up to make a hockey play and finish his check. There was approximately one second between Horton passing the puck and Rome hitting him. There is no way anyone could have reacted fast enough to stop the hit or get out of the way. If Horton had jumped right up, Rome might have received a minor penalty, but it seems the penalty and suspension were based more on the resulting injury.
My question for the NHL is, if that was Zdeno Chara hitting a third or fourth line player like Maxim Lapierre instead of a sixth defenseman hitting a first line player, would Chara have received the same suspension or would he be getting praise for making a great hockey play in the Stanley Cup Finals?
Finally, congrats go out to the Binghamton Senators of the AHL on wining the Calder Cup.
Binghamton is the farm team for the Ottawa Senators and the future looks bright for Ottawa with prospects like Robin Lehner, Erik Condra, Kaspars Daugavins and Jared Cowen. Lehner backstopped the Senators with a GAA of 2.10, a 0.939 save percentage and three shutouts in the AHL playoffs. Lehner will be a fantasy stud, so make a move on him now before his value gets too high.
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