With starting goaltender Michael Leighton out for roughly a month with a bulging disk in his back, the Flyers are using the preseason to evaluate their options. The player that starts in place of Leighton now will most likely to continue to be his backup throughout the remainder of the season. The battle has raged since the injury and it looks like this heavyweight fight for the starting goalie gold will come down to the wire.
In the Orange corner, standing 6-2 and weighing in at a stout 190 lbs, "The Iron Curtain" Sergei Bobrovsky!
Bobrovsky has come onto the Flyers goalie scene since being signed last year after playing in the KHL. The 22 year old Russian has played fantastic is the preseason, posting a stingy 1.37 goals against average and an equally impressive .952 save percentage.
The team has won three of the four games he has played in and the loss was in the shootout. With the kid playing as well as he has, here is the Flyers chance to see if they have a legitimate star prospect and a solid backup to Leighton.
In the Black corner, a crowd favorite, a seasoned career backup, and the presumed starter for the 2010-2011 season, Brian Boooooooooooooooooucher!
Boucher has played well this preseason, but preseason hockey is different from regular season hockey. The players skate faster and pucks get shot harder and Boucher has to be at the top of his game. Throughout Boucher's career, one of his biggest flaws has been his inconsistency.
In Boucher's three starts, the Flyers are 1-1 including an outstanding game against the Buffalo Sabres Friday night. In that game, Boucher out dueled all star goalie Ryan Miller on his way to stopping 32 of 33 shots in the 3-1 victory.
His stats are impressive (a 1.90 goals against average and a save percentage of .939) but he is known for his up and down play in the regular season.
The Judges Scorecard
Opening night for the Flyers is Thursday, October 3rd and someone has to be between the pipes and sorry Flyers fans, I'm busy that night. If the team came to me and asked what I thought (they would instantly be the least respectable club in the league), I would start Sergei Bobrovsky.
Everything is pointing in the direction of Brian Boucher getting the nod from management to start the season, but I believe Bobrovsky should get a few chances to start in Leighton's absence.
Bobrovsky has to get acclimated to the NHL pace and speed and with your starter sidelined, now is a great opportunity to see what you have for the future. The Flyers have struggled for years to obtain consistency in net and Philadelphia is always looking for another young star like Pelle Lindbergh.