Goaltending by committee has been the M.O. for the Philadelphia Flyers ever since Ron Hextall left the club. Is is something they planned? Of course not. However, it seems like a position the franchise doesn’t put a whole lot of stock into. When you look over the storied history of Flyers you can only name three goaltenders that have been notable; Bernie Parent, Pelle Lindbergh, and Ron Hextall. That’s about it.
Maybe its about that time.
After the season the Flyers organization has had, going through roughly six goaltenders because of injuries to both their starters and the not-so-great performance by Brian Boucher, the Flyers might have finally come around on the whole “we need a franchise goalie” thing.
It got so bad this year, that the Flyers tried extremely hard to snag former netminder for the franchise Robert Esche from his club in Russia. Only to be turned down because of the obligation Esche has to his remaining months of his contract. Although Esche might be a possibility this summer.
But according to Anthony SanFilippo of the Delco Times the Flyers’ main offseason goal to snag a lockdown number one goaltender. Sanfilippo spoke with an anonymous source, but this source of his is a person who has full knowledge of team personal and decision-making plans.
Here is what the source told SanFilippo:
“We can’t go into next year with the same situation or a similar situation in goal that we have right now. What happened this year is really nobody’s fault. Ray (Emery) came in here and did everything we asked and was good until he got hurt. We got lucky with (Michael) Leighton, but we can’t expect to win doing things this way in goal. It’s already been decided that our No. 1 priority for next season is to get a goalie. We have to go out and get that player and commit to him as our guy.”
So how do the Flyers work around their tapped out salary cap. With guys such as Danny Briere, Simon Gagne, and Scott Hartnell who have no-trade clauses.
“It’s probably going to mean somebody is going to have to be traded away, especially if we go after a young goalie on another team, but that’s what we’re going to have to do, the source said. “We can’t keep going the way we have been. The goalie has to be the most important target and we don’t want to keep replacing one veteran with another. We want to get a guy who can be our goalie for several years…. We have to go in another direction.”
So, here are a few names that get thrown into that mix of possibilities:
1. Cristobal Huet- Antii Niemi has basically locked up the starting job for the Chicago Blackhawks which leaves Huet as the odd man out in the windy city. I doubt the Flyers will touch him, but he is still out there so there’s a chance.
2. Cory Schneider- The backup to Roberto Luongo in Vancouver. I don’t have to sit here and tell you that Schneider has no chance to succeed as a Canuck. You already know that if you contain a hockey pulse. Schneider is an unproven commodity so I also doubt that the Flyers will take a gamble on him.
3. Jaroslav Halak or Carey Price- Now we begin to spice things up a bit. Halak is probably going to be the guy who starts for the Montreal Canadiens next season and probably beyond 2010-2011, which puts Price out on the block.
Price, 22, has had his ups and downs for the Habs since being drafted with the fifth overall pick in the 2005 Entry Draft. His ups include going 24-12-3 in his rookie season, leading Montreal to becoming the number one team in the Eastern Conference that season, and already being compared to the likes of Patrick Roy. Bad Mistake. He then went on the get ousted by the Philadelphia Flyers in the second round of the playoffs.
Last season was considered a sophomore slump for the 22-year old, but he picked things up this season only to lose his job to Halak. Seemingly enough, the pressure that playing for Montreal might have gotten to the psyche of Price which in the Flyers case could present themselves with the perfect opportunity to land him. So look for the Habs to try hard to send Price packing to a different city this summer, and try to get some hefty talent in return.
Will the Canadiens take a veteran player like Briere or Gagne? Or will they go after one of the young guns like James van Riemsdyk or Claude Giroux? Those questions won’t be answered for some time.
Furthermore, there is one thing that is certain regarding this current Flyers roster, there will be major changes by the time next October roles around.
Another source told Sanfilippo that heads are going to roll in all intensive purposes.
“A number of these guys (on the Flyers roster) won’t be back.”
Now you can draw up your own conclusions…..Begin.
Thanks to Anthony Sanfilippo for contributing to this story via quotes and info.