If you’re a Philadelphia Flyers fan, then you know your favorite hockey team has had horrible goaltending for the past few decades.
That problem reared its ugly head in the playoffs last season against the Pittsburgh Penguins. Starting goaltender Brian Elliott was absolutely awful in the series as he had just one win and finished with a 4.75 goals against average and a .856 save percentage.
This is a very consistent theme for the Flyers. They can play well in the regular season and get by with timely offense and terrific play on the power play, but come crunch time, their goaltending lets them down.
Elliott’s play between the pipes last season once again points out a huge hole that this franchise has had for years. Unfortunately, the team and its management have not been able to plug and it has led to regular season failures, playoff failures, and just a general lack of confidence in the position that is supposed to help your hockey team.
The main issue when it comes to the franchise’s goaltending has always been consistency. There are nights when the team’s goaltender was excellent and then the very next game, that same netminder looked like a completely different netminder.
Elliott is the perfect example of this. Not only did he show that with the Flyers last season, but he also showed it in his previous stops with the Calgary Flames, St. Louis Blues, Colorado Avalanche, and Ottawa Senators.
Yes, Elliott puts up solid, but not spectacular, regular season numbers. However, he’s never been good enough to get his team to the next level.
Elliott is not the only one who has not been able to get this franchise to the next level. Guys like Steve Mason, Michal Neuvirth, Ilya Bryzgalov, Robert Esche, Martin Biron, Roman Cechmanek, Brian Boucher, John Vanbiesbrouck, all failed in trying to help this team win a Cup.
So, who is the answer in net? It’s not Elliott or Neuvirth. While these guys may be solid enough in the regular season to get their team into the playoffs, they simply do not and will not get the job done during the most important time of the season.
The franchise is hoping that Carter Hart can be that guy for them. It is believed that there is a chance that he will come in at some point within the next two years and take over as the main man in net.
He will spend this season in the AHL with the Lehigh Valley Phantoms and will get the opportunity to further develop this game. Hart was lights out in junior so if the franchise can take their time with him and let him develop the right way, he should continue on a trajectory where he could end up being an elite goaltender in the NHL.
This is something that must happen for this franchise. The Flyers need a goaltender that can go wire to wire being a solid goaltender and give them a chance to win the Cup.
The last time the Flyers had someone like that was back in the 80’s and 90’s in Ron Hextall, the team’s current general manager. That’s far too long to not have developed a true starter in this league.
Hopefully, Hart can be the answer because if he’s not, this franchise will continue to have same problem that has plagued them for the last 20 years.