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Could the Flyers be shopping for…goaltending?

Jan 17, 2012, 12:45 PM EDT

Interesting note from CBC’s Elliott Friedman in his most recent 30 Thoughts column:

It’s interesting to hear other teams talk about the Flyers. If there’s one thing they really respect, it’s Philly’s willingness to make bold decisions. That’s why there’s a suspicion that if Ilya Bryzgalov or Sergei Bobrovsky doesn’t grab a stranglehold on the net, Philadelphia may look at someone else (on a short-term contract) to calm the position.

Some thoughts on Friedman’s thought:

— Viable netminders that currently fit the bill (cheap, short-term contract) include Evgeni Nabokov, Antero Niittymaki, Curtis Sanford, maybe Scott Clemmensen…yeah, it’s not exactly a Vezina shortlist. Two teams to keep an eye on are Minnesota (Josh Harding) and Winnipeg (Chris Mason) — both teams are teetering on the edge of the playoffs and could fall off, and both of their backup goalies are impending UFAs making less than $2 million annually. Harding’s a steal at $750,000, though there’s probably a lineup of GMs wanting to acquire his services.

— The thought of Philly acquiring Nabokov and curbing the market on Russian goaltenders is intriguing. Intriguing in a cultural sense, not a “this will improve things” sense.

— It’s crazy that, after spending $51 million to solve their goaltending problem, the Flyers could potentially end up having another three-goalie season like in 2009-10, when they went through Ray Emery, Brian Boucher and Michael Leighton.

— Here’s a question PHT readers can fight to the death about in the comments section: Which goalie contract would you rather have right now — Roberto Luongo‘s (expires in 2022, annual cap hit of $5.3 million) or Bryzgalov’s (expires in 2020, annual cap hit of $5.7 million)?

  1. canucksaccordingtomitch - Jan 17, 2012 at 12:56 PM

    Luongo’s. Hands down. At least he doesn’t worry about the universe being so humongous-big

  2. xxshookonexx - Jan 17, 2012 at 1:04 PM

    Is there a third option? At what point do you stop blaming the goaltending and start talking about the defense or defensive system?

    Gun to head, i’d go with Luongo.

    • cmutimmah - Jan 17, 2012 at 1:19 PM

      Exactly… New Jersey played well still without Brodeur, StL under Hitchcock has been great with both Halak and Elliot, Mike Smith has taken over Phoenix admirably, and the Red Wings seem to get it done with anyone back there (discard Howard’s first full season).

      Goalies can end up with a bad rap… but let’s be honest, as porous as the Philly D has been without Pronger, the goalies have let up their fair share of bad ones. Bryz has been out of position a LOT (Bad angles) and Bobrovsky just doesn’t have the reflexes a starting goalie usually has.

      • kneary47 - Jan 17, 2012 at 1:29 PM

        pretty sure bob has the reflexes. as a matter of fact they worked a lot with him last year because his legs were so strong that he would often push himself out of position. his problem is he is a small goalie already and makes himself smaller. Did you notice during the winter classic that the Rangers were trying to put every shot up top?

      • cmutimmah - Jan 17, 2012 at 1:35 PM

        By reflexes, I guess I was talking about taking away upstairs. Tough to be a small butterfly goalie. He doesn’t have the fast hands needed to start.

        By the way, pushing yourself too far is position and angles, not reactions. Being strong doesn’t make you fast/agile (see Boston, David)

  3. ballistictrajectory - Jan 17, 2012 at 1:17 PM

    Maybe Kate Smith is pissed.

  4. busieks - Jan 17, 2012 at 1:29 PM

    I would take Bryz in a heartbeat. Luongo is an assclown, not to mention horrific in the playoffs. Bryz adds comic relief and has proven in the past to put up legendary numbers.

    • haterzgonahate - Jan 17, 2012 at 2:12 PM

      at some point.. people need to start giving credit to the Bruins and the Hawks for taking it to the Canucks AS A TEAM instead of shouldering all the blame on Luongo. he’s had A LOT more stellar playoff games than bad. but nobody remembers the good

      Luongo in a heartbeat

    • t16rich - Jan 17, 2012 at 4:57 PM

      Yeah. Bryzgalov has put up more legendary numbers then Luongo. You are high on crack if you believe that Bryzgalov has proven anything along the lines of legendary.

  5. davebabychreturns - Jan 17, 2012 at 1:43 PM

    I’ll happily take Luongo, at his cap hit a team could spend $2m on a backup goaltender and still not be the highest spending team in the league on goaltending (Lundqvist plus a guy making the league minimum is $7.3m, Lundqvist and Biron is $7.7m).

    Plus I am convinced he’s still got trade value, whereas Bryz has been not just a disappointment on the ice but a distraction (I love the guy but he does not fit the typical blue-collar, understated hockey player mold) off it.

  6. Rob - Jan 17, 2012 at 1:54 PM

    Without hesitation, of those two I am taking Luongo!

  7. pittsburghpoonslayer - Jan 17, 2012 at 1:54 PM

    love hearing about the troubles in filthadelphia.

  8. stakex - Jan 17, 2012 at 2:04 PM

    Well despite the fact that Luongo is highly over rated, and if not for him the Canucks probably would have won the cup at some point over the last few years… I’d have to go with him over Bryzgalov. Bryz might be very entertaining, but Luongo has the better overall stats.

    With that said, neither of them have career stats that warrent such a contract. I have no idea what the GMs that gave those contracts was thinking.

  9. hank10 - Jan 17, 2012 at 3:38 PM

    Did Homer really do due diligence before signing Bryz? Rick Tocchet was on Philly radio last week and was asked about Mr. Humongous Universe. He answered that going back to his days in Phoenix, Bryz was a poor practice player, had trouble getting up for some games, had bad habits, and would like to pass the blame to his D-men. I guess when Mr. Snider says ‘get me a goalie, NOW’ Homer went and got a goalie without doing a full background check.

    But Bob is not walk in the rink either. Gives up too many Leighton-esque goals, like in the Winter Classic. And when he was presented with being the first-stringer last season, he’d go into a funk.

  10. buffalomafia - Jan 17, 2012 at 3:59 PM

    Thats what happens when you have two Polacks for goalies!

  11. yaozer17 - Jan 17, 2012 at 4:39 PM

    Mike Halford – couldn’t Philly technically banish Bryz down to the AHL and if no one picks him up on waivers (with that contract I would highly doubt it), keep him there and still have his cap hit avail to use? Isn’t that one of the CBA loopholes Homer can take advantage of?

    • Mike Halford - Jan 17, 2012 at 5:39 PM

      Bryzgalov has a no movement clause, making a move of that nature quite difficult to execute.

      • danphipps01 - Jan 17, 2012 at 7:07 PM

        Ouch. I thought it was just an NTC. That’s pretty brutal.

        Anyway, acquiring a new goalie? Bob’s got viable numbers, why not run him more? This seems like a stupid decision. Rather than running Bryz every game and then saying “We need a new goalie,” how about running your BACKUP? I mean, that’s kind of why they exist, you know? And he’s got dramatically better numbers, too. Just switch the two, run Bob to the deadline and see if it’s necessary to make a trade as his play unfolds over the next dozen starts or so.

      • thefalloficarus84 - Jan 18, 2012 at 8:13 PM

        danphipps, keepin Bob in would be the obvious way to go, but at the end of the day it’s going to be difficult for him to compensate for his lack of size no matter how you stretch it. I love when he starts getting confident but it doesn’t seem to happen as often as I’d like, and its hard to be confident in someone who doesn’t seem confident in himself. He seems to be getting better every day, but at the same time it seems kind of hard to justify dropping that $51 million just to keep a bench warm. I’m trying hard not to jump on the hate wagon but he’s not making it easy.

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