It's hard not to get too ahead of one's self when it comes to speculating for the upcoming season, especially when your favorite team falls victim to a string of injuries, specifically a string of injuries to one particular position: goaltending.
The Philadelphia Flyers are still in the playoff race. If they continue their play from the last two games, chances are, they will make the playoffs.
However, goaltending is a position that cannot be less than impressive in the playoffs in order for a team to succeed. And with the latest goaltending injuries, salary cap circumstances and free agent scenarios, I feel its warranted to toss around possible candidates for the Flyers' number one goaltending job to be filled this summer. Here are some of the possibilities, in no particular order:
1. Re-signing Ray Emery - This is no doubt a risky scenario. Emery started out this season on a very positive note in establishing himself once again as a number one goaltender. However, a string of injuries deprived him of really proving to us that he was indeed able to handle the job. He comes at an affordable price, but is he worth the risk? I believe that if the Flyers are not able to sign another proven NHL goaltender, he might be a suitable back up plan, once again. But he should by no means be the Flyers' first choice.
2. Signing Marty Turco - He will be an unresitricted free agent this summer and possibly looking for a different home. However, he may be difficult to land due to Dallas' lack of a replacement starter. Turco is arguably the best candidate for the Flyers, though it would mean shedding substantial cap space and the actual likelihood of signing him is not very good.
3. Signing Carey Price or Jaroslav Halak - Both will be restricted free agents. However, neither have truly proven themselves as starting goaltenders capable of winning a cup. Most likely, Montreal will be more willing to depart with Price, as Halak has played very well of late, though that could change depending on Montreal's success in the playoffs. Signing either would still come with great risk, though their youth could be a large benefit.
4. Signing Dan Ellis - Dan Ellis will be a UFA this summer and Nashville looks as though they have given their starting job to Pekka Rinne. Ellis has not played extremely well over the past few seasons, but he showed some promise his rookie season and has limited playoff experience. This scenario is by no means ideal, but is still an option worth looking into.
5. Signing Martin Biron - Biron will be a UFA once again this summer and is certainly affordable. Whether he still has what it takes to take the Flyers as far as they went last season, or even further, that remains to be seen. Despite his consistency issues, Biron has good experience and could realistically handle the job once again.
6. Signing Evgeni Nabokov - Nabokov is arguably one of the best goaltenders in the league and has proven he can handle the starting goaltender position. He would not come cheap as a UFA signing, however, and it's doubtful whether San Jose would be able to give their starting job to Thomas Greiss or sign someone else. Along with Turco, Nabokov would be one of the two best candidates for the Flyers starting job is they could land him, but it would cost the Flyers quite a bit.
These are by no means the only scenarios out there, but they are a few very enticing options (let's not forget about Vokoun). It's going to be very interesting to see what changes are made this summer as I believe there will definitely be some significant changes. Feel free to join in speculating as I'm sure you already have been, and I'm sure there are other significant scenarios that I haven't thought of.
In the mean time, let's hope our boys can get the job done over the last few games and into the playoffs.
In Philly Faith,