Before the start of the 2022-23 season, the Philadelphia Flyers need to start thinking about the organization’s goaltending situation moving forward. Obviously, the 23-year-old franchise goaltender, Carter Hart, will continue to be the No. 1 guy, but it would be nice to have a solid secondary option. The last two seasons have not exactly been kind to Hart in the net, so the team has relied heavily on their second guy.
Last season, veteran goaltender Martin Jones backed up the young netminder, but it seems he will not be back for another season. Jones played well for the orange and black in his season of service, but his style of play ultimately did not complement the Flyers’ system. Both goaltenders struggled through this season as the team finished 25-46-11 (61 points), good for dead last in the Metropolitan Division.
As difficult as this season was for the goaltenders, there were other problems going on with the lineup that ultimately affected the overall outcome of the season. While it’s easy to blame the goaltenders for losses, the Flyers just did not get it done on the ice as the team failed to produce from start to finish. The organization needs to turn things around quickly before Hart’s prime years are wasted on a dream that will never be achieved.
This offseason will see a handful of solid goaltending targets that the Flyers should absolutely take a run at. Not only will adding another solid goaltender help the team win games, but it will also help take some of the pressure off Hart if he does not perform up to expectations.
The Veteran – Jack Campbell
After spending the last two seasons as the starting goaltender for the Toronto Maple Leafs, it appears Jack Campbell’s days are numbered. According to Elliotte Friedman, contract negotiations to bring Campbell back to Toronto have not gone well so far. As Friedman recently stated, “Don’t believe there have been much negotiations with UFA-to-be Jack Campbell.” Campbell would look to explore other options if the Leafs cannot reach his expectations, and Philadelphia would be the perfect spot.
Campbell was drafted 11th overall by the Dallas Stars in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft. He spent seven seasons in the Stars’ organization, but only played one NHL game. He went on to spend the next few years in the American Hockey League (AHL) to develop and grow his game before finally getting a chance to make a name for himself with the Los Angeles Kings following a trade. He settled into a backup role behind Jonathan Quick with the Kings until being traded to the Leafs prior to the 2019-20 NHL season being shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Flyers would give him the opportunity to back up a young goaltender, while also earning big minutes of his own. Hart and Campbell could easily split responsibilities in net, becoming one of the best one-two punches in the league. The pair could build off the success of one another, creating a positive yet competitive environment and making both goaltenders that much better.
The biggest factor in getting Campbell in an orange and black sweater would obviously be the money, but the Flyers need to dump a few larger contracts before that could happen. If the Flyers are willing to pay a goaltender this offseason, the 30-year-old netminder should absolutely be their No. 1 target.
The Young Gun – Ville Husso
Currently leading the St. Louis Blues through the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs, Ville Husso is set to become a free agent following this season. While it is yet to be determined if his days with the Blues have come to an end, it’s difficult not to speculate what could happen this offseason. Husso is clearly not the No. 1 guy in St. Louis, but he has certainly played like it down the stretch this season.
Husso was drafted 94th overall by the Blues in the 2014 NHL Entry Draft but did not make an appearance with the team until last season. After spending a few years playing internationally and in the AHL, he finally made the jump to the NHL and did not disappoint. For years he was believed to be the best goaltender in the system but did not get the chance until last season. This past year proved he deserves a real shot at earning major minutes in the net.
“He’s just a kid who seems pretty unflappable,” said veteran defenseman Robert Bortuzzo. “He’s got great energy in the room. Just a true character who plays with a lot of passion and I’m sure he’s champing at the bit to get in there. I’m sure he’s going to embrace that. And as a team we know what we got back there, so we’re very comfortable.”
A pairing of Hart and Husso would send shivers down the spines of opponents, especially the ever so talented Metropolitan Division. The goaltending duo would easily be one of the best in the league and each guy could build off one another. While it is easy to get excited over situations like this, the Blues’ have given no indication about their plans for the young goaltender moving forward.
The Flyers could absolutely make a run at the 27-year-old goaltender this offseason if the opportunity presents itself. The organization would be foolish to not make an offer for a goaltender of his caliber being that readily available. He would solve a huge question mark for the team and provide support to another young stud in the net.
Regardless of who the Philadelphia Flyers chose to make a run at this offseason, there is one thing that is certain. Hart will remain the starting goaltender until his contract expires and he no longer chooses to be a member of the organization. Adding a second solid goaltender only adds to the potential the team has going into next season and hopefully it will be better than the last.
Bobby Bader Jr. is a freelance journalist born and raised in Philadelphia, PA covering the Philadelphia Flyers for The Hockey Writers since the start of the 2020-21 National Hockey League Season. He currently works with the Hershey Cubs Hockey Club (USPHL Premier) as the team’s media coordinator and serves as the Assistant Sports Information Director at Penn State Harrisburg. For interview requests or to provide content info, follow Bobby on Twitter or his social media accounts. They appear under his photo in articles like this one.