Kukla's Korner

23 Intently Staring Goalies

Flyers Goalie Conundrum

There are teams who develop goalies.

There are teams who trade for goalies.

And then there are teams that go through goalies like a bowl of salted peanuts.

The Philadelphia Flyers fall into that last category. Even before Bobrovsky was named a Vezian finalist, there have been questions about the Flyers ability to get and keep even a decent goalie. Even when they trade for what appears to be at least a midlist goaltender, within a season they're either out the door or on their way out of town with a sub .900 save percentage, and a goals against on the wrong side of 2.5.

Here's a sampling of who's been between the pipes in the post-Hextall era:

  1. Antero Niittymaki
  2. Sean Burke
  3. Jeff Hackett
  4. Mike Leighton
  5. Roman Cechmanek
  6. Martin Biron
  7. Ray Emery
  8. Robert Esche
  9. Brian Boucher
  10. Sergei Bobrovsky
  11. Ilya Bryzgalov

And now Steve Mason. And this doesn't cover all the cup of coffee goalies--these are goaltenders who the Flyers thought at the time were serious contenders for the number one slot. 

So, what's the problem? Scouting self-fulfilling prophecies from the scouting crew? Lack of coaching at the NHL level? Not being able to determine what the correct fit is for the organization?  If you take a look at the longest tenure goaltenders, Bernie Parent and Ron Hextall, to fit into the Flyers style of playing, the Flyers should be looking for someone who plays an aggressive style, and who doesn't expect a lot of shot blocks from the defense. Add in someone who might take some penalty minutes defending his crease, and they might be a better fit with the organization.

Here's philly.com's Frank Seravalli's throughts:


.897: Flyers' total save percentage as a team, regardless of which goaltender was in net (141 goals allowed on 1,371 shots).

78 percent: Shots faced for Ilya Bryzgalov this season (1,066 out of 1,371).

.900: Bryzgalov's save percentage, ranking him 48th out of 57 goaltenders who played a minimum of 10 games during the shortened season.

4: Number of goaltenders to start a game with the Flyers this season -including Bryzgalov (40), Steve Mason (6), Brian Boucher (1), Michael Leighton (1).

4-4-1: Flyers' record without Bryzgalov. It took until Mason's first win (April 16) for the Flyers to get their first win of the season with someone other than Bryzgalov.

1: Shutout for the Flyers this season. (Bryzgalov on Feb. 18, 7-0 vs. Isles)

.944: Save percentage for Mason in a limited sample size (7 appearances). Mason had a 1.90 goals-against average.

2: Righthanded-catching goaltenders in Flyers history, including Mason. Stephane Beauregard (16 games in 1992-93) is the only other. Jean-Sebastien Aubin played in a preseason game.

2,297:45: Total minutes played for Bryzgalov, ninth in the league. Ryan Miller (Buffalo), Pekka Rinne (Nashville) and Ondrej Pavelec (Winnipeg) were the other goalies in the top 10 to not get their teams to the playoffs

28.6: Average shots per game faced by Flyers' goaltenders, near the middle of the pack in the league (13th).


For all the hindsight chatter this week about Sergei Bobrovsky's run to finalist for the Vezina Trophy, there was seemingly little mention of the draft pick the Flyers selected as part of that Bobrovsky trade last summer.

With that 45th overall pick, the Flyers nabbed 6-6 Anthony Stolarz, who has panned out to be their first legitimate goaltending prospect in more than a decade. The last one was Maxime Ouellet, their first-round pick in 1999 who ended up playing in 12 NHL games before retiring in 2008.


Filed in: | 23 Intently Staring Goalies | Permalink


Dakkster's avatar

All the while the team lets a high end goalie prospect like Joacim Eriksson go unsigned. He has been the starter of winning teams in both junior SEL and now regular SEL. He has improved every year, plays a north American style and he is a free agent just because the Flyers thought it would be better to let him go and sign Niko Hovinen who was a dud.

Posted by Dakkster from Southern Sweden on 05/11/13 at 09:38 PM ET

Add a Comment

Please limit embedded image or media size to 575 pixels wide.

Add your own avatar by joining Kukla's Korner, or logging in and uploading one in your member control panel.

Captchas bug you? Join KK or log in and you won't have to bother.


Notify me of follow-up comments?


Most Recent Blog Posts

About 23 Intently Staring Goalies

23 Intently Staring Goalies comes from the 23 close-up photos of goalies that used to line the walls of my office.

On the good side, it kept down interruptions, but it also made sure I had to leave my trash outside my door if I wanted it picked up.

I've been watching and analyzing goaltenders for going on 40 years. Some of that was spent drawing goalies on my grade 8 math homework. Then it was taking my card decks and printouts to Indianapolis Racer games. Luckily, the Internet took off, and by 1991 I was half of the duo that would ultimately become the Plaidworks hockey mailing lists. I wrote "Handicapping the Goalies' for the San Jose Sharks mailing list, and took a lot of photos of goalies in action. I have around 5000 slides of mostly goaltenders in action from 1989 through 2001 from the WHL, IHL and NHL. Since I've gone digital, I've added about 10,000 more images to the library. During summers and when the league went dark, I was reading through multiple SF By area news papers, tracking ice hockey from the 1917 recreational leagues up through the California Seals.

We'll be talking about goalies and goaltending. We'll talk about whats going on now, who's in the system, and when the doldrums hit, I'll haul something out of the big bag of history, or something from the photo archives. We'll talk about who's hot and why, and who's not and what they can do to get back on track. We'll take a look at the trends in scouting goalies, and why a style may work for one team but not another. I'll battle with my dictation software to get it to understand Bryzgalov and Bobrovsky.

It should be interesting--hope you want to come along for the ride!