I know the Philadelphia Flyers are in the Stanley Cup finals and no matter if they win or lose the series against Chicago there is one question that has to be addressed in the off season. That question is who will be the starting goalie next season? With this post season run a lot of people are going say the flyers must re-sign Michael Leighton. Although he has helped the team come back from a huge deficit from Boston and had multiple shut outs versus the habs he has looked like a back up goalie in the finals and it could be argued that if the flyers had a little better goalie between the pipes they could be leading the series instead of trailing.
There are some options that could be viable on the free agent market this summer with the likes of Turco, Nabokov and Mason. The problem with free agency is the Flyers have 52.9 million committed to the cap so solving this issue with a UFA is highly unlikely. The Flyers have a very good team assembled and with the emergence of Giroux, Leino and Van Riemsdyk they have a depth of scoring up front and can afford to use that in a trade to land a legitimate starting goalie. With one year left on a contract and his age Jeff Carter is the best option for the Flyers to get that coveted goalie. The reason for this is Carter's 5 million dollar cap hit for one more year. The talented forward will likely be due for the same dollar figure or a small raise after next season and that does not bode well for the Flyers who will still have cap issues. Although they would be losing a very good player who's best hockey is still ahead of him a goalie could prove more valuable to the Flyers.
Now that we have established who the Flyers can part with who are some viable options to target? I believe there are 3 possible options for the Flyers. The first is the much rumored trade that didn't happen at the trade deadline with Vokoun in Florida. The Panther goaltender has been rumored to want out and play for a contender. The difference in salary is only $700,000 which is a number that the Flyers can afford to pay and they would probably get a mid round draft pick thrown in.
Option #2 would be Roloson out of NYI. His age may be frowned upon but there is no doubt that rolie would be an upgrade from both of the goaltenders on the Flyer roster. Roloson is also in the last year of his contract which is a 2.5 cap hit which means if the islanders traded with a pick or 2 the Flyers would save 2.5 million for next season and then the contract come off the books.
Now the first two options were one year stop gaps looking to capitalize on team making another deep post season run. Option #3 is looking for a potential number 1 goalie for the present and the future. The third goalie and the one I would look to get if possible is Price out of Montreal. The team may still want him but the fans don't and in turn Price has been rumored to want out. Philly would most likely be a favored destination for Price because of the talent of the team and being able to stick it to the hab fans. Although Price is a RFA with his last couple years of inconsistency the Flyers could most likely sign the young tender to a modest contract (guessing a 3 yr deal @ 2.5-3.5 approx.) which would save the team 1.5-2.5 million and get a young number one.
In conclusion if the Flyers want to challenge for a better seed in the playoffs next year or just make the playoffs without having to go to a shoot out in game 82 just to get in they may start shopping their young forward for a better goalie. Just think if they hadn't won that shoot out? The dealing may have already started.