Wednesday, June 30, 2010

The Next Roman Cechmanek/John Vanbiesbrouck/Tommy Soderstrom

Who do I want to see between the pipes for the Flyers on October 7th in Pittsburgh? A very interesting question indeed. There have certainly been enough rumors flying around as to who the Flyers are going after, who is available and what they or their respective teams are asking. But if I'm going to give my opinion on who should be the starting goalie for the Flyers in 2010/11, I can first tell you that I think the Flyers need to bolster up their defense before the start of next season. The Orange & Black should devote the majority of their cap space to improving their blue line by resigning Braydon Coburn and possibly signing a free agent or two. Dan Hamhuis (if he decides to grow a pair and sign in the East), Anton Volchenkov, Henrik Tallinder or Toni Lydman are a few who I think fit the mold of a "Flyers defenseman" and, at the same time, would be moderately inexpensive.

After Evgeni Nabokov and his agent realize that a) he's not worth the 5-6 million per that they're asking and b) if he wants nothing less than that kind money, he's going to be playing in the KHL next season over in Mother Russia, he may be a good fit for the Flyers. I was adamantly against Philadelphia picking up Nabokov before the Flyers announced that they began to speak with his agent. I was telling people I knew how he folds in the playoffs and he can't be counted on when the team needs him. But when you've gotten 44, 41, and 46 wins in the last three regular seasons and have a career 2.29 GAA in the playoffs, I think it's okay to "take a chance" on him. I was also saying before how he'll cost too much and take up too much cap space. And that may very well be true; thus making the possibility of Nabokov becoming a Flyer nothing short of impossible. But if the Flyers can get him for the right price, I'm going to completely change my mind and say yes, I want Nabokov to be the next Flyers goaltender.

Then there's Michael Leighton. Remember? That guy who had three shutouts in the same series against the Canadiens and brought the Flyers back to the Stanley Cup Finals for the first time since 1997? Yea, I think we all remember what he did to get the Flyers to the Finals; he was nearly unbeatable up until the Cup Final. But do you remember what happened in the Finals? That same Michael Leighton who had three shutouts in the Eastern Conference Finals was the same Michael Leighton who was pulled twice against Chicago and let up countless weak goals including Patrick Kane's Cup-clincher. So if you're asking me if I want Mr. Leighton to be the Flyers goaltender next season, I'd tell you no. He did great while he was here, but he's simply not someone who can take Philly to the next level.

Well if we're going to talk FA goalies, we have to talk Turco and Mason right? Now just to be clear, Nabokov is my No. 1 choice as the Flyers next goalie, but if the Flyers can't afford him, there are other less expensive options available.
  1. Evgeni Nabokov - (for reasons stated above)
  2. Marty Turco - (solid veteran with postseason experience and should be cheaper than Nabby)
  3. Chris Mason - (another solid netminder but does have some effort issues and postseason jitters)
  4. Dan Ellis - (another Nashville product who had his job stolen, should be cheap. Kinda like this guy)
  5. Antero Niittymaki and Martin Biron - (No. Been there, done that. But it's becoming more and more possible)
Considering that the free agent signing period starts at noon tomorrow, we should find out very soon who the Flyers next goalie will be. There are a number of guys who I'd love to see Paul Holmgren get in Philadelphia. But there are also a number of guys who I would not like to see as the Flyers goalkeeper. I do know that this is Philadelphia, and the goaltending carousel here has been going round and round nonstop for over 30 years. There's no telling how good a goalie playing in Philly will be--no matter how good he was before he came or how good he'll be after he's gone. It's going to be interesting to see how this team looks in about 72 hours and I can't wait to start complaining about it once I see it.

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