The conspiracies are running rampant to say the least since the Flyers season was ended by the Boston Bruins in a dominating sweep. Who will stay? Who will go? Who will or won’t be the captain next season? Who’s the locker room cancer? Who will they trade to make room for a goalie? Everyone needs to take a step back and relax and take a logical look at the situation. It’s no secret that Flyers GM Paul Holmgren would like to upgrade at the goaltender position, but he’ll wait until the time is right and won’t do anything just for the sake of making a move.
The amount of speculation during this offseason has been incredible. After the elimination everyone was online posting their goalie plans out of panic. Now that the dust has settled, let’s look at some of the options the Flyers have this season. I’ll rank these options that have been discussed in public that the Flyers may pursue. I don’t think all of these options should be seriously considered but let’s talk about them anyway.
1.) Tomas Vokoun – I’m not saying that Vokoun is the best (although he could turn out to be) goalie that will switch teams this offseason. But he would make the most sense for the Flyers. Here’s the primary reasons: Money and years. Vokoun’s older age (35 next season) will cause him to receive a lower cap number than Bryzgalov, although maybe not by much. However, the biggest reason Vokoun works is because he’ll get less years than Bryz would. I know Paul Holmgren, and I also know how much he believes in Sergei Bobrovsky. He truly believes this guy is the real deal and just needs some time under his belt. Bringing in a younger goaltender on a long term deal sends Bob the wrong message. Vokoun would be a great guy for Bob to learn from. Even though he’ll be 35, let’s note his game has not really declined at all yet, and could be a great mentor for Bob for a few years.
2.) Ilya Bryzgalov – Bryzgalov is the most popular pick among Flyers fans. He has been the heart and soul of a Coyotes team that has made the playoffs under very tough circumstances the last couple of years. His playoff track record is not very impressive, but many believe in a winning culture such as Philly this could be turned around. At age 30, Bryzgalov will be looking for years and money. Without trading a large cap hit such as Jeff Carter, Bryzgalov may not be realistic for the Flyers. Also, if you sign Bryzgalov for 4-5 years, aren’t you pretty much giving up on Bobrovsky? If you can get him to sign shorter term, it would be great for Bob to have a fellow Russian around to help him grow up in his NHL role.
3.) Sergei Bobrovsky – Sergei Bobrovsky is highly touted in the Flyers organization. He’s a 22 year old who stepped into the NHL for his first seasn and made the team unexpectedly after a very strong camp, and for 80% of the year was a very good number 1 goalie. The wheels fell off at the end for whatever reason. But Bob had never played as many games in Russia as he did this year and it takes time to adjust. The Flyers would be content with Bobrovsky being the main guy this year if the other options would cause the Flyers to mortgage the future of the organization. A veteran goalie could be brought in to compliment him.
4.) Corey Schneider – I really am a big believer in Corey Schneider. I think he’s going to be a great goalie in this league. However, I’m not so sure he’d fit into the Flyers plans. We talked about how signing Bryzgalov long term would basically be giving up on Bobrovsky. Well, if you trade for Schneider you’re pretty much saying Bobrovsky won’t be here long term. I think Schneider will be a great starter somewhere, I just don’t think the Flyers are ready to cast away a guy like Bob to bring in 25-year-old Schneider. Not to mention, any trade to bring Corey to town would require picks and prospects, both of which the Flyers either do not have or do not have enough of to be giving up. I’d say this option is highly unlikely.
5.) All Others – Roloson, etc. – This would be a big mistake if the Flyers went this route. I don’t believe they will, but I had to add this just for the speculators out there. Dwayne Roloson’s name has been brought up, as well as Evgeni Nabokov. As far as Roloson goes I think he’s at the end of his career at age 41. He may have some solid hockey left for another year or so but for a team desperate for goaltending he’s not the answer. Nabokov may work better with Bobrovsky a fellow Russian, but there are a lot of complications to being able to have him cut loose after he refused to report to Long Island last year. Any of these mediocre/veteran options I doubt would be considered starting options over Bobrovsky. But hey, maybe a guy like Nabby splitting time with Bob could work. Time will tell who will be available.
Lots of choices, lots of possibilities, and lots of work ahead for GM Paul Holmgren. In an interview with Chuck Gormley of the Courier Post, Holmgren said he’d like to obtaining goaltending help without making a big trade that shakes up the roster, pretty much referring to Jeff Carter. However, Holmgren did not rule anything out. It will be an interesting day one month from today. After years of somewhat predictable July 1st’s, I think this one might throw us a lot of curveballs. Let’s enjoy the finals first and pick up soon after.
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