Philadelphia Flyers: Power Ranking Their Top All-Time Goaltenders
The Philadelphia Flyers are a franchise with a rich history and a tradition of excellence. Despite the impressive list of names who have donned the orange and black, the franchise has struggled of late to find a quality man between the pipes.
But things were not always so bad in net for the Flyers. Decades ago, all time greats patrolled the crease for the team.
Here's a look back and a look forward at the best goaltenders in team history. Enjoy!
No. 8: Sergei Bobrovsky
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The list begins with the young Russian known around Philadelphia as "Bob".
Despite starting his career without a goalie coach and never playing hockey in North America before the 2010-2011 season, Bobrovsky managed to win the Flyers starting job and post some very respectable numbers.
During the 2010-11 season, Bobrovsky posted a 28-13-8 record with a 2.59 GAA and 0.915 SV%. Not too bad for a 22-year-old kid who had never played North American hockey at any level, let alone the highest level.
No. 7: Robert Esche
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Robert Esche's career with the Flyers was marked by solid, if not spectacular, play. He never played more than 40 games in a season for the team, but always managed to post a winning record and very respectable numbers despite limited playing time.
Esche did receive some league-wide recognition following the 2002-03 season, sharing the William M. Jennings Trophy with Martin Brodeur and taking the Philadelphia Flyers' Yanick Dupre Memorial Trophy. The following season, he won the Pelle Lindbergh Memorial Trophy, awarded to the "Flyer who has most improved from the previous season, as voted by his teammates."
No. 7: John Vanbiesbrouck
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Despite the relatively brief time he spent in Philadelphia, "Beezer" was able to make quite an impact on the franchise. In his first season with the Flyers, he posted a career-best 2.18 GAA and managed to record 27 wins in 62 games.
Vanbiesbrouck's tenure with the team was cut short by his penchant for allowing "soft" goals and the emergence of young talent: Brian Boucher.
No. 6: Brian Boucher
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In two stints with the Flyers, Brian Boucher has been excellent. He's put together magical playoff runs, made spectacular saves (Patrick Elias probably still has nightmares), provided veteran leadership and mentored a few younger goaltenders.
While Boucher will never be remembered (or even mentioned) as the greatest goaltender in Flyers history, he deserves a spot on this list. He's been everything the Flyers asked to be and more over the course of his Flyer tenure.
No. 5: Roman Cechmanek
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In three short seasons with the Flyers, Roman Cechmanek posted some incredible numbers: a 92-43-22 record with a 1.90 GAA and a 0.923 SV%. Despite those amazing regular season performances, Cechmanek is remembered more for his playoff collapse to the then competitive Ottawa Senators.
But for three seasons, Roman Cechmanek was one of the best goaltenders in the NHL. That's more than most goaltenders in Flyers history can say and is the primary reason he deserves a spot on this list.
No. 4: Pelle Lindbergh
Despite his life and career being cut short by a tragic car accident, the incredibly talented Swede netminder managed to win a Vezina in his fourth NHL season.
While his career was brief, it was certainly impressive. Lindbergh's talent was immense and his future as bright as the stars before his tragic death. For that (and for his impressive play), he earns a spot on this list.
No. 3: Ilya Bryzgalov
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"Cool Bryz" ranks this high on potential alone.
Over the past two seasons, Bryzgalov has been one of the best goaltenders in the NHL despite toiling in the Arizona desert behind a less-than-mediocre team. After signing a nine-year, $51.5 million contract during the summer of 2011, everyone in Philadelphia expects him to be "the guy".
Through two games of his Flyer career, Bryzgalov has not disappointed, posting a 2-0 record with a 0.50 GAA and a 0.977 SV%. If he continues to produce like that, he'll be No.1 in short order.
No. 2: Ron Hextall
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During his 13-season tenure with the Flyers (over 2 stints), Hextall broke several team records, including: most career games played by a goaltender (489), most career wins (240), most career playoff wins (45), most career points by a goaltender (28) and most career penalty minutes by a goaltender (476). Hextall also holds the NHL record for most goals by a goaltender with 2.
If those records provide any indication, Hextall was an aggressive, in-your-face type of netminder. He embodied the spirit of the City, and for that he will never be forgotten. But...he didn't win a Stanley Cup with the Flyers.
No. 1: Bernie Parent
Was there ever any doubt?
Bernie Parent is arguably one of the greatest goaltenders in the history of the NHL. His play during the 1974 and 1975 seasons is amazing, even by today's standards: 91-27-22 record with a 1.96 GAA and 24 shutouts in two seasons. Think about that. Now imagine posting those numbers using the kind of equipment Parent had.
There's a reason he wore #1.