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Philadelphia Flyers: GM Paul Holmgren Needs to Think Outside the Box

BOSTON, MA - MAY 06: Brian Boucher #33 consoles Sergei Bobrovsky #35 of the Philadelphia Flyers after the loss to the Boston Bruins in Game Four of the Eastern Conference Semifinals during the 2011 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at TD Garden on May 6, 2011 in Boston, Massachusetts. The Boston Bruins defeated the Philadelphia Flyers 5-1 to advance to the Eastern Conference Finals.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Elsa/Getty Images
Aaron MillerContributor IIIMay 17, 2011

Goaltenders in Philadelphia: What a bunch of jabronis.

As fans of both the Philadelphia Flyers and the television series 'It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia" would know, the Flyers' goaltending during this year's playoffs was comparable to the quality of one of Mac's roundhouse kicks. For those who don't know the reference, the goaltending was terrible.

Now, I probably don't need to tell you how this problem seems to occur every year in Philadelphia, or that the Flyers should free up some cap space and sign one of Ilya Bryzgalov or Tomas Vokoun in the upcoming free agency period, because there is plenty of media out there detailing that.

I do believe that signing either Bryzgalov or Vokoun is a good idea. They are both quality goaltenders who could, with a short term deal, turn the Flyers into genuine contenders while Sergei Bobrovsky develops.

In this article however, I wish to demonstrate some other potential options that Paul Holmgren could also consider in order to solve this conundrum.

The first potential candidate is Miikka Kiprusoff. Despite being 34 years old, he is one of the premier goaltenders in the game today. The 2006 Vezina Trophy winner was able to compile a GAA of 2.63 and a Sv% of .906 despite playing a hefty 71 games in front of a lacklustre defense.

The Calgary Flames have been mediocre at best for the past couple of seasons now, and are surely looking to rebuild. Trade rumors involving both Kiprusoff and Jarome Iginla have been rife for months now.

A trade for Kiprusoff would no doubt involve giving something to get something. However, with a cap hit of approximately $5.8 million (according to capgeek.com), it is likely that the Flyers would need to shed some salary anyway.

One downside to this is that Kiprusoff is contracted until the 2014-2015 season. However, at age 35, he can retire with his contract coming off  the Flyers' books. If Kiprusoff would be open to a potentially early retirement, this would definitely be a good option to consider.

Another potential candidate is Tuukka Rask. With the re-emergence of Tim Thomas, it appears that Rask's days as a starting goaltender in Boston are over.

After compiling a phenomenal GAA of 1.97 through 45 games last season, Rask was simply unable to unseat Tim Thomas—who has been amazing, to say the least—this year.

I truly believe that Rask has what it takes to be a number one goaltender with the Flyers. He is still only 24, and currently carries a cap hit of only $1.25 million (according to capgeek.com).

If you combine the Flyers' glut of talented defensemen with the Bruins' desire for a power play quarterback, it starts to become a reasonable idea that the Bruins could very well trade Rask for the right deal.

One solution that is really outside of the box is the acquisition of Evgeni Nabokov. I know a lot of you are now thinking that this article has lost all credibility due to the fact I have included Nabokov. You could be right.

I will concede that he has treated the Islanders very poorly and probably does not deserve to be in the NHL.

However, the opportunity to claim a once premier goaltender for a cap hit of only $570,000 (according to capgeek.com), is almost too good to refuse, especially when the Flyers' would have to give up nothing in order to do so.

There are two situations that could play out if this were to occur.

The first, and most likely, is that the Flyers trade for Nabokov, realise he isn't up to scratch and then bury his contract in the minors. The second, is Nabokov takes the chance by the scruff of its neck, plays his heart out in the regular season and gives himself the opportunity to show the world he isn't a playoff choker.

Although this would not be ideal, I still think it is better than continuing with what we have currently. Even if Nabokov turns out to be a complete flop, he remains a cheap backup/minor league goaltender. Should the Flyers be unable to acquire one of the four previously mentioned goaltenders, this would provide a contingency plan that gives Paul Holmgren not much to lose, but a lot to gain.

Thanks for reading. 

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