5 Backup Goalies the Philadelphia Flyers Could Still Target
What the quarterback situation is to the Philadelphia Eagles, the goaltending scenario is to the Philadelphia Flyers.
In short, they're both a mess.
At least for the Flyers, who continue to wait while labor negotiations drag on between the NHL and NHLPA, the nightmare hasn't become as tangible as it usually is by mid-November.
The starting goaltender is set for the foreseeable future. Like him or not, Ilya Bryzgalov is the man with still eight years remaining on his $51 million deal inked in advance of last season.
Sadly, what's just as consistent as goaltending issues in Philadelphia is the enigmatic play of Bryzgalov. With that, a steady backup netminder is a must for the Flyers.
Michael Leighton is already on board after signing a one-year pact on the first day of free agency. But is that a solid enough plan B for the Orange and Black?
Here are five other backup goaltenders the Flyers could still pursue.
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Roloson is by no means a long-term solution for the Flyers, but he could provide a steadying veteran presence behind Bryzgalov for the coming year.
At 43 years old, Roloson's best days are behind him. Still, with 14 years of NHL experience under his belt, the native of Simcoe, Ontario knows what it takes to win at the highest level.
And for the Flyers, that's the goal. Win. In particular, win in the postseason.
Roloson has 50 career playoff appearances to his credit, including a 28-18 career postseason record. Those totals include a run to the Stanley Cup Final with the Edmonton Oilers in 2006 and a trip to the Eastern Conference finals just two years ago with the Tampa Bay Lightning.
An unrestricted free agent, Roloson could be had today for the right price. After earning $3 million a season ago in Tampa, it's hard to imagine he'll command anywhere near that total again.
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Another veteran goaltender with a proven track record, Turco could be an even less expensive option than Roloson.
The former Dallas Stars netminder earned just $600,000 in limited duty with the Boston Bruins a year ago and is currently trying to stay sharp with the EC Red Bull Salzburg of the Erste Bank Hockey League in Austria.
At 37 years old, Turco, like Roloson, is in the twilight of his professional career. Still, with 47 playoff appearances to his credit and 275 NHL victories on his resume, he could prove to be a solid veteran backup plan if Bryzgalov starts to falter.
Even though he's only managed 34 NHL appearances over the last two seasons (and only five a year ago), it's hard to believe Turco is done for good. He's only three years removed from a 20-win season and had compiled six straight seasons of 30 or more wins prior to that.
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Unlike the first two names on this list, Conklin is a perennial backup netminder.
For guys like Roloson and Turco who have been long-time starters in the NHL, it can sometimes be difficult both physically and emotionally to adjust to the role of No. 2. But Conklin has proven through the years he can be a very effective option when starting goaltenders are in need of a rest.
Conklin has only ever made 30 or more appearances three times in his nine-year NHL career. Still, the Phoenix, Ariz. native has compiled a career 2.69 goals-against average coupled with a .906 save percentage.
What's more, when he's been called into action, he's filled the role admirably. During the 2007-08 season, Conklin registered an 18-8-5 record in 33 games with the Pittsburgh Penguins. Then, just one year later, he notched a 25-11-2 mark in 40 appearances with the Detroit Red Wings.
Bryzgalov is the starter in Philly. Everyone knows it. So bringing in a proven backup like Conklin might be exactly what the Flyers need.
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Like Conklin, Johnson has a proven track record as a backup goaltender.
Over the past five seasons, the 35-year-old Johnson has made more than 23 appearances in a single season. Still, his production in that role was been commendable.
Just two years ago, Johnson notched a 13-5-3 record in 23 appearances with Pittsburgh while posting a minuscule 2.17 goals-against average along with a .922 save percentage. In fact, from 2007-2012, he has recorded a goals-against over 3.00 just once.
In 12 NHL campaigns, Johnson has recorded only 309 total appearances but has produced a 140-112-31 career mark in those games.
A native of Farmington, Mich., Johnson has spent the last seven years of his NHL career suiting up for Eastern Conference clubs (Washington, Pittsburgh), so it stands to reason he'd quite interested in remaining on the East Coast.
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Yes, he's currently the property of the Carolina Hurricanes. But a list of viable backup goaltending options in Philadelphia just wouldn't be complete without Brian Boucher.
Twice during his 11-year NHL career, Boucher has begun a season in Philadelphia as the projected backup and twice he has eventually been called into action as the team's starter.
First, he stole the starting job away from John Vanbiesbrouck during the 1999-2000 campaign and ended up backstopping the Flyers all the way to within one game of the Stanley Cup Final.
Then, just three years ago, Boucher inked a two-year pact with Philadelphia to serve as the reliable backup to the enigmatic Ray Emery. Emery made only 29 appearances that year and Boucher quickly became the starter before eventually giving way to Leighton.
Boucher has shown flashes of brilliance throughout this NHL career but has never been able to sustain that superlative play. Several of those flashes have come in a Flyers sweater.
Boucher has already backed up one streaky, enigmatic Flyers goaltender in his career. So why not again?