Between the Pipes: Some Goaltender Options for the Philadelphia Flyers

Brian MurtaughAnalyst IJune 17, 2010

PHILADELPHIA - JUNE 04:  Michael Leighton #49 of the Philadelphia Flyers minds the net against the Chicago Blackhawks in Game Four of the 2010 NHL Stanley Cup Final at Wachovia Center on June 4, 2010 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

Now that most of the initial heartache from a Stanley Cup defeat has subsided in Philadelphia, it is time for the Flyers to discuss some options for next season.

One of the biggest issues surrounding the Philadelphia team is who will be stopping pucks for Philly next season.

Here are some options that Philadelphia has going into 2010-2011:

First off, Philadelphia can consider resigning Michael Leighton. Leighton put up some impressive numbers throughout the playoffs and showed Philadelphia the type of goaltender that he could be.

Unfortunately for Leighton, Flyers fans are some of the toughest in the league, and it may be hard to regain their confidence after shaky showings in Games Five and Six of the Stanley Cup Finals.

Even though Leighton had a tough outing, it is worth noting that he was not a starter all season long. Maybe with some more practice and game experience, he can become a goalie of the future. Whether that future will be in Philly is yet to be seen.

The second option that may be good for Philadelphia would be free agent Evgeni Nabokov. Nabokov had an amazing season with San Jose in 2009-2010, posting a 44-16 record and 2.43 GAA.

Signing Evgeni in Philadelphia may be a long shot, but it is not completely out of the question. Nabokov made $6 million last year, and at 34 years old, may be a stretch for the Philadelphia front office.

One thing is for certain, however. If Nabokov ends up in Philadelphia, look for them to shoot near the top of Eastern Conference favorites.

A third and more realistic option for the Flyers may be former Nashville Predators goaltender Daniel Ellis. Ellis was a backup for starting goaltender Pekka Rinne last season, but he showed great promise in the games that he played. Throughout 31 games played, Ellis went 15-13 with a 2.69 GAA. He will more than likely not resign with the Predators, as Rinne signed an $18 million extension this year.

The fourth and most talked about option would be Marty Turco. Turco was on the Flyers' radar when Emery was lost for the season, but after trade negotiations fell through, Leighton took over the starting role.

Marty is 33 years old and played in 53 games in 2009. Even though Turco may be past his prime, he proved to be a valuable asset to Dallas, winning 22 games and posting a GAA near 2.70.

Marty would be great piece in the Flyers puzzle because of his experience and ability when he has a strong defense in front of him. However, Philadelphia would take a significant punch to the payroll if they signed Turco, as he made nearly $5.5 million last season.

Look for free agent and trade negotiations to heat up as we get deeper into the summer months. Philadelphia made a historic journey through the playoffs this year and maybe, with a few more pieces, they can bring the Stanley Cup back to Pennsylvania.