The Philadelphia Flyers have had goaltending issues for years, and it’s partially their fault as it seems like they don’t put much value into the goalie position; however, that’s changing as they’re prioritizing finding a young, franchise goalie after this season comes to an end.
After the troubles of using six goalies due to injury and poor play, the Flyers have realized that they will need a franchise net-minder to accomplish what they want so bad—win a Stanley Cup.
In case you were wondering how bad it has been for the Flyers in goal this year, they have reached out to former starting goalie Robert Esche, who’s been playing in Russia for the last couple of years. However, Esche declined as he’s obliged to complete the remaining couple months of his contract.
Esche is a possibility to return to Philadelphia in the summer, but he’s not exactly what they’re looking for.
The Flyers are going to target younger goalies in the off-season, which will most likely come in the trade market as the goalies primed to hit free agency are veterans who would only be a stop-gap for a couple of years.
Of course, the Flyers could go out and sign Evgeni Nabokov or trade for Tim Thomas, but they would be right back where they are now.
Anthony SanFilippo of the Delco Times mentioned some potential goalies that could be on the Flyers radar in a piece where he quoted an anonymous source that said the Flyers have made finding a long term solution at goalie their number one priority.
Here are the names SanFilippo suggested could be trade targets for the Flyers:
Antii Niemi — The Blackhawks have been the league’s best team all season, but they have their own goalie troubles.
Cristobal Huet hasn’t been what they were hoping for when they signed him to a lucrative long-term deal two years ago, and has lost his starting job to Niemi. Huet is a possibility, but an unlikely one.
Corey Schneider — With Roberto Luongo locked up as the Canucks starting goalie for the next decade, Schneider has no future in Vancouver.
He has the potential to be a future number one goalie, but he’s an unproven commodity. As much as I would love the Flyers to take a chance on him, it’s unlikely as they would want someone with some NHL experience.
Carey Price or Jaroslav Halak — Now we’re talking as it’s no secret the Montreal Canadiens will trade one of their two goalies this off-season, and it appears as Price is the odd man out as he’s lost his starting job to Halak.
Drafted with the fifth overall pick in the 2005 NHL Entry Draft, Price hasn’t lived up to early expectations in Montreal.
Following a promising rookie season in which he went 24-12-3 en route of leading the Canadiens to becoming the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference, Price endured what many believe was a sophomore slump last season only to lose his starting job this year.
Price, still only 22-years-old, has a ton of upside, but has allowed the pressure of playing in Montreal eat away at his psyche.
Due to the fact that Halak has all but stolen the job from him, the Canadiens will likely trade away their one-time future starting goalie.
No one knows what the Canadiens will be asking for Price, but you can expect it to be a hefty price tag considering the potential, and the lack of quality goaltenders available, but it’s a price the Flyers may be forced to pay.
The Flyers cannot go into next year without a viable long term option, and Price fits the bill.
One can only speculate what Montreal will be asking for Price; will they take one of the Flyers with a no-trade clause should Paul Holmgren convince one to waive it or would they want one of Claude Giroux or James van Riemsdyk.
SanFilippo cited a source saying that “a number of these guys (on the Flyers roster) won’t be back.”
If it means the Flyers have to move Jeff Carter to acquire a franchise-caliber goalie like Price, then it’s something Holmgren has to pull the trigger on.
Because playing merry-go-goalie isn’t as fun as it sounds.