The Philadelphia Flyers will be without their starting goaltender for five to six weeks after Brian Elliott underwent core muscle surgery Tuesday morning, the team announced. Elliott has won 21 of the 28 that the Flyers have this season and has been a big part of their success in a very competitive Metropolitan Division. At the time of the injury, the Flyers hold a 28-19-8 record, good for 65 points and third in their division.
G Brian Elliott underwent successful core muscle surgery this morning. He's expected to be out 5-6 weeks.
— Philadelphia Flyers (@NHLFlyers) February 13, 2018
When looking at Elliott’s stat-line, it’s clear that there’s more to the story than his impressive 21-11-7 record. Despite owning 75 percent of the Flyers wins on the year, Elliott has posted a 2.72 goals against average and a .908 save percentage. The totals haven’t been ideal, but at the same time, he’s done his part to help the Flyers and his 21 wins are tied with Los Angeles Kings’ netminder Jonathan Quick for the 12th most in the league.
In Elliott’s place will likely be backup goaltender Michal Neuvirth who has posted a 7-7-2 record with a 2.50 goals against average and .917 save percentage. While Neuvirth has the potential to help the Flyers to the playoffs, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Philadelphia try and swing a move to acquire another goaltender before the 2018 Trade Deadline as a precaution. In the meantime, the Flyers will rely on Alex Lyons to hold the backup role.
Lyon has played in 26 games with the Lehigh Valley Phantoms in the AHL this season before being recalled by the Flyers, compiling a 15-8-2 record with a 2.83 goals against average and a .911 save percentage. At the NHL, he’s played in three games, recording a decision in one game with a loss while boasting a forgettable 3.93 goals against average and a .860 save percentage.
Long Journey for Elliott
It’s been a long-career for Elliott who can be described as a journeyman netminder, now playing for the fifth team in his 12-year NHL career. Starting his career with the Ottawa Senators after being drafted with the 291st overall selection in the 2003 NHL Entry Draft, a draft that has long been talked about for its abundance of superstars, Elliott has also spent time with the Colorado Avalanche, St. Louis Blues and Calgary Flames before he joined the Flyers during the offseason.
In 412 games, the 32-year-old Elliott has compiled a respectable 212-128-42 record with a 2.45 goals against average and a .913 save percentage. It’s been a rollercoaster of a career as Elliott has shown that he can post seasons with 1.56, 1.96 and 2.07 goals against average with .940, .922 and .930 save percentages. He’s also shown that he can post 3.19 and 3.83 goals against average with .894 and .891 save percentages, which has led to a frequent buyer-beware label placed on Elliott.
While the Flyers have gotten some middle ground in Elliott’s production, the fact that the team is finding a way to win in front of him has made his two-year, $5.5 million contract worth every penny in its first season. Paying a goaltender $2.75 million for the production that Elliott has given has been a saving grace for the Flyers who have seen numerous goaltenders try and fail to help this team make it deep into the postseason.
When Elliott is back and healthy, he should get the starting job back with the club. For now, the Flyers will have to make a decision on what they’ll do as the trade deadline looms.
Brandon Share-Cohen has covered the NHL and various professional sports for six years. Working with The Hockey Writers, Brandon works extensively on covering the Boston Bruins in addition to his role as the News Team Lead.